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‘Grove First Day Of School: Officially, Aug. 28

LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – OK, Pottsgrove School District parents: get out your phone apps, your datebooks, or the marker you use to write messages on that magnetic notepad attached to the ‘fridge. The first day of school for the 2017-2018 academic year is (drum roll, please) … Aug. 28.

As in years past, Pottsgrove schools next year will return to the practice of opening for their first day before the Labor Day holiday, the Board of School Directors agreed Tuesday (Feb. 14, 2017) as they approved the new academic calendar. Despite some parents’ desire for a longer tail to the summer vacation, one in which schools would open after Labor Day (which occurs this year on Monday, Sept. 4), directors said they think sooner really is better.

  • The district this morning (Wednesday, Feb. 15) published the new calendar for public viewing on its website. Find it here.

One reason, director Rick Rabinowitz observed, is tactical. Because the state has moved up its timetable for required testing this year, “the earlier we start the more time students have to prepare. Those extra days do matter,” he said.

Other reasons are practical. The earlier start keeps the district on track with classes at the Western Montgomery Career and Technology Center, which educates dozens of Pottsgrove students. It also provides teachers with a little more time for classroom preparation, Superintendent Dr. William Shirk added. And don’t forget the mental satisfaction of a short first school week followed by more vacation time, board President Matt Alexander chipped in.

During years in which Pottsgrove High School was being renovated the board authorized first day of school starts after Labor Day, so contractors could finish up summer projects. With the renovation essentially complete except for punch-list items, that’s no longer necessary, Shirk said.

Other major changes to the calendar? There really aren’t any, Alexander reported, except one item that’s not a change at all but worth commenting on, he said.

“We’ve agreed not to set the high school graduation date in stone,” the board president said. It will be penciled into the calendar later, after the need, if any, for additional snow days is determined.

The state demands that students attend school for a minimum of 180 days, or the district can lose funding, Alexander noted. “That’s a significant cost to us,” he said, so it makes more sense to know exactly when the 180-day requirement will be fulfilled, and then schedule graduation with confidence.

Related (to the Pottsgrove Board of School Directors’ Feb. 14 meeting):

Photo from Google Images

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