BR parent proposes 3-4-5 school start plan

Blue Ridge Parent Kat Hepler voiced a proposal to the school board, at the Monday, Sept. 9 meeting, that she believes will address an issue regarding the district’s start date.

Her “3-4-5” plan would set start date for students on the Wednesday before Labor Day, which would create a three day week; followed by a four day week after the Monday holiday. The third week of classes would be a full five day week.

After this school year began with a full five day week, she said, many kids had difficulties transitioning back into an education-focused mindset. The year also began just two days after the end of the Harford Fair. Hepler pointed out that students attending VoTech had to deal with a conflicting schedule between districts, leaving them with nothing to do for the first few days of school.

She also emphasized the necessity of cultivating a positive relationship between the children and education.

Hepler remarked that this plan would not be a significant hurdle to the students’ education, moving the year back just two days compared to this school year’s start date. It will also give teachers more time to prep, she says, if there are in-service days filling the first two days of opening week.

The 3-4-5 plan Hepler proposes would set an Open House on Aug. 31, 2020, with the first day for students occurring on Sept. 2, 2020.

Blue Ridge alum and parent James Barbour, spoke about the exhaustion he saw from his child after a full week of school. “My son, who never naps, came home at the end of the week and took a long nap.”

He said that his child was lethargic throughout the week, and even came home “bummed out” over school.

Hepler also saw the effects in her child, who was not only tired, but had to miss the second day of school over an illness.

The school board did not give a full response, but mentioned that they will consider the proposal at their January workshop, where they will make decisions regarding next year’s school calendar.

Shane Pagnotti, of the Pennsylvania School Board Association, made an appearance to recognize two board members with Certificates of Appreciation. Christina Cosmello and Harold Empett have now served on the board for 12 and 20 years, respectively.

The meeting was also heavily attended by members of the Blue Ridge Education Association (BREA).

The board acknowledged tenure for Emily Maher, Nicole Sefcik and Shauna Williams.

The board will hold a work session on Monday, Sept. 30 and the regular monthly business meeting on Monday, Oct. 7. Both meetings start at 7 p.m.

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