CHARLEROI – Administrators at Charleroi School District are holding off before deciding whether to implement flexible instructional days.

“While some districts will be submitting plans by the Sept. 1 deadline, we aren’t quite ready to move forward with this program,” said Superintendent Dr. Edward Zelich during the Charleroi school board’s monthly meeting Tuesday evening. “We would like to monitor the effectiveness of flexible instructional days at other school districts this year to determine whether our district should consider it in the future. By taking time to evaluate this program, our district can address quality of learning, continuity of content, access by all students and a timeline for implementing the plan.”

Earlier this summer, Governor Tom Wolf signed a law allowing Pennsylvania school districts to give students the opportunity to learn from home, instead of canceling school completely for snow days or other reasons.

Flexible instructional days can include online or offline learning or both. Districts can only use flexible instructional days five times per year. Proponents say flexible instructional days will eliminate the need for make-up days at the end of the year.

Districts aren’t compelled to take part in the program; to be eligible, however, they must apply for permits from the Pennsylvania Department of Education that could be used for three years. Districts also must demonstrate how they will implement the program, how they will count attendance and how they will account for discrepancy in or lack of technology that students might possess at home.

Dr. Zelich said Charleroi School District will be mailing a survey to parents and teachers to determine who has computer technology.

“Many of our students already have computers and an Internet connection at home but for those that don’t have this technology, we would find a way to make it accessible for them,” said Dr. Zelich, who noted that the district typically experiences about five to seven cancellations each year because of snow, ice, cold weather or emergency power outages.

Also, during the meeting, Dr. Zelich thanked School Board Director Thomas Nutting for organizing the second annual Stuff the Bus fundraiser. Nutting said the district raised more than $2,000 in cash donations to provide school supplies for students.

In other business, the board approved the 2019-2020 Watson Institute agreement in the amount of $47,865 and the 2019-2020 Center for Community Resources SAP agreement, at no cost to the district.

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