Calling it “the worst kept secret in the world,” the East Penn Superintendent of Schools shared a working 2012-2013 calendar with the at Monday night’s school board meeting. That calendar, which , won’t become official until the board approves it on Feb. 13.
Thomas L. Seidenberger said the reason for starting school earlier is to give teachers more time to prepare East Penn students for the standardized tests they must take each spring.
“The main reasons are testing unfortunately,” he said. “We don’t know when the Keystones are coming back and the PSSA’s are a moving target.”
In terms of specifics, the proposed calendar calls for an Aug. 27, 2012 start date and puts the last day of classes on June 10, 2013 – a date that Seidenberger said would bump out to June 13 if the district were forced to use its snow days. But, snow days could also be taken off of various school breaks during the school year to maintain the June 10 end date, he said.
“As you can probably imagine,” he said, “it’s difficult to maintain a high degree of enthusiasm for education and learning in late June.”
Calling the pre-Labor Day start “an inevitable move,” Seidenberger said the majority of school districts in Pennsylvania – including all districts in Northampton County – have already switched to an August start date.
Parkland School District backed off of the pre-Labor Day start, he said, because of teacher contract negotiations, but he would expect that Parkland would be joining East Penn and the other districts on the August start in 2013-2014.
Seidenberger also pointed out that the potential for a pre-Labor Day kickoff to the 2012-2013 school year is not a new idea, reminding the board that he had first brought up the topic last Valentine’s Day, .
Seidenberger told the board that he is getting very little pushback on the pre-Labor Day start, people just want to know what the opening date will be. “Parents are calling our office and saying ‘just make the decision,’” he said.