Some Shaler parents disagree with school changes

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Wesley Shipley, superintendent of the Shaler Area School District, asked a group of parents of Rogers Primary School students to contact his office to discuss their discontent with changes to school routines.

The two women who spoke to the applause of other parents filling the conference room at the Shaler Area Middle School during Wednesday’s school board meeting said changes to customs such as field day, musical performances, recess and even cafeteria seating have robbed their students of opportunities to bond and perform. Things that, they said, created a safe and homey school environment.

“It is not warm and welcoming,” one mother said. “It is a place to do time.”

During the business portion of the meeting, the board (half of whom were newly elected this November), discussed two versions of next year’s school calendar. Much to the satisfaction of teachers such as Dennis Dudley, teacher and chair of the high school science department, administrators have agreed to start the 2014-15 school year before Labor Day, a first for Shaler Area.

Superintendent Shipley detailed two possible calendars at the meeting and the board will vote on a final version at their meeting set for 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 19.

Rita Michel, freelance writer:

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