The 2018-2019 school year at Wallenpaupack is expected to end another week later than usual. The School Board, on April 9, agreed to expand the next term in order to accommodate extra school closure days due to the high number of closures the district has experienced.

WALLENPAUPACK - The 2018-2019 school year at Wallenpaupack is expected to end another week later than usual. The School Board, on April 9, agreed to expand the next term in order to accommodate extra school closure days due to the high number of closures the district has experienced.

The last day of school as well as graduation in 2019 is scheduled for Friday, June 21.

Superintendent Michael Silsby referred to them as “school closures” rather than ”snow days,” noting that it isn’t always due to snow. Classes may be cancelled due to power outages or other emergencies as well. Whatever one may call them, they had 17 this year, the most in six school years.

Looking back at the previous five years, Wallenpaupack schools were called off these number of days: 12, 12, 12, 2 and 13.

He quipped that perhaps it was “global warming” that led to only two closures in the 2015-2016 school year. The next two years made up for it.

They are anticipating having the last day of class and graduation on schedule on June 15, 2018. Silsby said that a waiver was requested of the PA Department of Education to meet a minimum of 900 hours of class time for elementary and middle school, and 990 hours for high school, in lieu of 180 class days. Although the D.O.E. at first indicated the waiver was approved, the district was informed that this was premature, and the decision was still pending.

Silsby noted that the district has “very poor attendance” on school make up days, such as when they take away the planned vacation days around Easter. Families still have plans, which Silsby said was understandable when the families didn’t change them. On those days, he reported, attendance was 300 to 500 less than normal.

By adding a week to the school calendar, Silsby said that will be able to accommodate 12 school closure days, so hopefully families of students as well as staff can still have expected days off.

In addition to 17 school closures, they also experienced six days when school started late one early dismissal.

The board approved the school calendar change.

Classes begins on Tuesday, September 4, 2018, following Labor Day and the GDS Fair, as normal.

The revised calendar includes 197 “teacher days” and 192 “student days.” The latter is 12 days more than the required  180 days of classroom instruction, allowing for making up potential closures aside from taking scheduled holiday breaks and in-service days.

Girl Scout project

Three Girl Scouts from Troop 50831, Hemlock Farms, received approval from Wallenpaupack School Board to build a “Buddy Bench” at the North Primary playground. The Wallenpaupack Middle School students are Sarah Deckinger, Jenna Prestianni and Abigail Schroder. They hope to earn the Silver Award by doing the project. This is the highest award a Girl Scout Cadette can receive. A “Buddy Bench” was described as a place where a child who is feeling lonely or upset may go and sit, signaling that he or she would like someone to talk to or play with. A local woodworker will be found to construct the bench, and the Girl Scouts will finish it.

Superintendent Silsby told them that this is a “great idea” and after pledging their support, suggested even more benches like this may be needed.

Seniors honored

Also discussed:

Enrollment as of April 3, 2018 stood at 3,011.

The Board approved a rate of $19.31 for District employee bus drivers and substitute bus drivers for the 2017-2018 school year.

E.R. Linde Construction Corp was awarded the bid for snow plowing contracts for the 2018-2019 school year.

An agreement was reached with Friendship House to hire a mental health counselor full-time for the 2018-2019 school year. The rate is $60.00 an hour, for a total of $2,100 based on a 35 hour work week.

The next Wallenpaupack school board meeting is set for Monday, May 14 at 6 p.m. in the High School Library. A committee meeting, also open to the public, precedes it at 5:30 p.m.

Editor’s note: More meeting items are covered in the next print edition of The News Eagle. Subscribe by calling Marcia at 570-253-3055 ext. 323. Thank you for being one of our readers!