Shaler Area students return to class 10 days late

Teacher strike ends with start of class Friday the 13th

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Friday the 13th turned out to be lucky for Shaler Area students -- that's the day they began the 2013-14 school year, 10 days later than originally planned, after the district and teachers reached a collective bargaining agreement that was made official Sept. 11.

The school calendar has been revised to include 10 student makeup days. The students missed eight days of school during the strike but two more days were added to the calendar because of state requirement concerning teacher strikes.

Normally, Shaler Area schedules 178 student days and meets the state requirement of a 180-day student year by using two Act 80 days, which are usually scheduled on Election Days in November and May and are used as teacher in-service days or parent/teacher conference days.

However, Pennsylvania requires that in a year when a strike occurs, Act 80 days cannot be used as part of the school calendar, so two additional student days have been added to the calendar.

No breaks are scheduled for students until Thanksgiving, when they will have Nov. 28 and 29 off. Dec. 2 is scheduled as a teacher in-service day. The winter holiday break will be Dec. 23 through Jan. 1, 2014. Spring break will be April 17-21, 2014. The students have one more day off, May 25, before the last day of school on June 13, which is also graduation day for the seniors.

Homecoming will remain unchanged.

The community event -- called "Game On!" -- will begin at 10:30 a.m. Saturday with a parade along Mount Royal Boulevard. A picnic follows at noon, and the game begins at 1:30 p.m.

In personnel changes for 2013-14, Marty Martynuska, former principal of Marzolf Primary School, is now principal of Shaler Area Middle School. The new assistant principal at the middle school is Shannon Howard, former assistant principal at the high school. Lori Mish, former assistant principal of the middle school, is assistant principal at Shaler Area Elementary School.

The former middle school principal, Eloise Groegler, has been named principal of Reserve Primary School and the federal program coordinator. From Reserve, former principal Rick Pelkofer has moved to the top administrative slot at Marzolf Primary. At the other primary school, Burchfield, Jeff Rojik is the new principal. He was the assistant principal at Shaler Area Elementary School.

The new assistant principal at Shaler Area Elementary is Venice Piveronas, the former interim dean of students there.

Shaler Area teachers will receive iPads this year to use as an instructional tool. This is the first phase of Project ACE, or Advancing Classroom Education, a project developed by a team of administrators and technology staff members under the leadership of Kara Eckert, assistant to the superintendent.

Bryan O'Black, director of curriculum and technology, will continue this year to work with district staff as they carry out the transition to the new Common Core State Standards in all areas of study.

education - neigh_north

Rita Michel, freelance writer: First Published September 26, 2013 9:00 AM


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