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October 14, 2020: Parent Communication - Early Dismissals Update

Dear Rocket Families,

Monday evening, October 12, 2020, the School Board made the difficult and crucial decision to adopt the recommended early dismissal schedule for the 2020-2021 school year calendar. The revised 2020-2021 school calendar can be found on the District website HERE. The early dismissals will occur every Wednesday, beginning November 4, 2020, and continue through the end of the school year. Breakfast will be served as usual, and a grab-and-go lunch will be provided at dismissal for each student to take home. The early dismissal schedule is as follows:  

  • Grades 7 - 12 dismiss at 10:30 AM
  • Grades 5 - 6 dismiss at 11:45 AM
  • Grades K - 4 dismiss at 12:00 PM

Thank you to everyone who provided input and feedback. Our Rocket families are always at the forefront of our minds when making a decision such as this. Through several weeks of discussion and planning, the Administrative Leadership Team exhausted all other options prior to moving forward with the recommendation to the School Board. We are tasked with ensuring that we deliver the best possible instruction and learning environment to our students. The early dismissals will help our staff maintain the positive connections and a high level of academic rigor for all students, traditional and distance learners, that you have come to expect from the Spring Grove Area School District. 

At the School Board meeting, I addressed concerns and questions regarding the Board approved early dismissal days. I am providing answers to those commonly asked questions in this communication, as well. 

Question: Couldn’t we have identified/assigned teachers to distance learning instead of teachers instructing both traditional and distance learners?

Answer:
 Our current staffing levels and certification requirements do not allow for these types of assignments for all grade levels and for the varying numbers of students in distance learning. Additionally, the current substitute and teacher shortage make this more challenging. We also want to ensure that our distance and traditional learners are receiving the same instruction. Should the District need to pivot to all distance learning due to a COVID-19 spread or some other emergency condition, all learners would be able to do so as seamlessly as possible.

Question: It would be easier to have my child(ren) stay home for the entire day on the early dismissal Wednesdays. Can my children participate in distance learning for the whole day on early dismissal days?

Answer: Our Administrative Leadership Team is currently looking into this as an option for our students. If we are able to offer this option in compliance with the Pennsylvania Department of Education protocols, we will communicate it to all of our Rocket families.

Question: Will early dismissals on Wednesdays lead to further school calendar changes down the road?

Answer:  Currently, there are no plans for additional early dismissal or distance learning days to the 2020-2021 school calendar. The School Board plans to re-evaluate the early dismissal days at a future Board meeting to determine their overall impact.

I cannot emphasize it enough, the best interest of our students and staff is at the center of everything we do in Spring Grove. We thank you for supporting us in our mission and for your patience along the way. 

Sincerely,

Dr. George W. Ioannidis
Superintendent