Hampton Township school board gives students extra day off

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By a unanimous vote at Monday night's meeting, Hampton Township school board changed Friday, April 26, originally a regular school day for students, to a professional development day. That means teachers will be in school and students will be at home.

The purpose of this late change is to introduce elementary teachers to the new math curriculum planned for the 2013-14 school year, board member Gail Litwiler said.

"I would not ordinarily recommend this," she said.

Mrs. Litwiler did ask Superintendent John Hoover if the motion could be amended to include just the elementary students since the new math curriculum is only for students in kindergarten through the fifth grade.

Mr. Hoover said that would be too inconvenient for parents who might depend on older children to babysit younger siblings while they work. Plus, he added, the principals at the middle and high schools already are making plans for their own staff development that day.

Board member Pam Lamagna suggested moving the development day to prom day since the high school students already only attend half the day but Mr. Hoover said the 26th was chosen because that day was the least disruptive district-wide.

Next year's elementary math curriculum, called Math in Focus, is expected to meet new state standards but also requires teachers to learn a very different teaching method so professional development is key to its success, said Laurie Heinricher, Hampton curriculum director. About 90 percent of the teachers at the district's three elementary schools teach math. Professional development will cost the district about $20,000. Materials for the new series will cost $150,000.

The board is expected to formally vote on the program at the March 11 school board meeting.

education - neigh_north

Rita Michel, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com


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