WSSD Board Meeting, Jan 11th, 2020

The school board meeting this week covered two focus topics – changing the high school schedule for the period starting Jan 25 and a first draft of the 2021-2022 school calendar. The full video is available on Youtube here.

The student representative covered upcoming MLK Day related service opportunities.

  • Trinity-Swarthmore Church will be providing meals for home bound individuals. More information is available here.
  • Penn State is offering MLK Day activities open to the public here.
  • Dimensions in service is collecting resources for local volunteer activities for the home & school website.
  • Ms. Ackerman retired after 34 years of service.
  • Picture make-up day is Jan 20th at the middle school.
  • NHS is collecting get well cards for hospital patients as well as supplies for CHOP and can be dropped off in the high school. More details available here.

Board Announcements. The board announced the superintendent search is underway. Emails have been sent out to parents with a survey about the next superintendent. There is also a link available for those in the community without children in the district. The district will also be holding forums on Jan 20th and 22nd (both virtual) for parents and another on Jan 27th for staff. The consultant the district hired for the search, Judith Wilson, is already at work.

Focus Topic 1. High school schedule.

Greg Hilden presented survey responses regarding the three high school schedules proposed at the last meeting. The data was inconconclusive, showing a divided response among parents and students. Each of the 4 options (the three new ones and the current schedule) received the support of 23-27% of the community. Despite the lack of support for it in the surveys (and opposition from comments called into the board), the district has recommended going with the schedule for 4 half days. Mr. Hilden claimed going to four half days a week represents a transition toward a full return to school, but it was not clear how this was the case and seemed to be shifting the goal posts to justify the change.

The schedule does keep the number of zoom minutes for those in the online academy constant and does increase time cohort students spend in class. Students will be asked to commit to cohort or online academy for the duration of the next marking period. The board later voted to approve the changes 9-0, and it will begin on Jan 25th.

Focus Topic 2. Proposed calendar for 2021/222.

The schedule starts before Labor Day, but otherwise returns to a more regular schedule. This was only a draft and not voted on. The proposed schedule can be downloaded here.

  • Aug 30 : school start
  • Sept 6, 7 and 16 : Labor Day and religious holidays
  • Oct 29th : K/8 early dismissal for in service day
  • Nov 2nd : asynchronous day and staff in-service
  • Nov 24 – 26 : Thanksgiving break
  • Dec 23 – 31 : Winter break
  • Jan 17 – 18 : MLK day and in-service day
  • Feb 11 and 14 : In-service and President’s day
  • Apr 11-15 : Spring break
  • Mar 4 : K/8 early dismissal for in service day
  • May 17 : K/8 in service day
  • May 30 : Memorial Day
  • School ends June 11

The use of an asynchronous day for Election Day on Nov. 2nd was particularly controversial. Mr. Abbott said that if they take Election Day as a holiday instead of asynchronous instruction, then they will need to either add a Monday on to the end of the year in June or remove Dec. 23rd as a holiday.

The rest of the meeting was routine approvals of staffing changes and contracts.

Categories: Government, WSSD