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Montgomery school board revises academic calendar

By Staff | Apr 29, 2020

MONTGOMERY – The Montgomery Area School Board unanimously approved a revised 2019-2020 academic calendar including updates on the last day of classes, prom and graduation for seniors, during its meeting via Zoom on Tuesday, April 21.

The last day of school for students will be changed to May 22, meaning students have been in school 172 days regardless of the COVID-19 pandeJoseph Stoudt, junior and senior high school principal, added that, though the awards ceremony for seniors will be canceled, students will still be recognized on the scholarships they have earned on June 2 on the district website.

Graduation is still set for June 5, though it will be celebrated “informally,” according to Stoudt.

He said the day will start with a parade, starting at the Montgomery Area Community Center and traveling through town to the Pike Drive-In Theater located on Route 15. Students will then be able to view their senior video, composed of photos and videos of the last year’s memories and prepared graduation speakers.

He added that, if able, there will be a formal graduation in the high school auditorium on Aug. 7 for students to walk across the stage.

“Unfortunately, I do not have a crystal ball,” he said. “I have no way of knowing what restrictions we are going to be under in the future. It all depends, and we are planning for the worst and staying optimistic.”

In addition, prom has been moved to Aug. 5 for current juniors and seniors. Stoudt added there are some details yet to be determined, but the school is looking into making this event free for the junior and senior students. If the state is still going through the pandemic on Aug. 1, the event would then be canceled, he said.

The district started instruction via Zoom online classes and Schoology on March 16, unlike other schools in the region, according to Karen Snyder, elementary school principal, and Stoudt.

The elementary and junior and senior high schools are working to maintain classwork to have report cards for the end of the year.

The schools are using Zoom in large-group, small-group and one-on-one settings for students via mandatory classes and assignments on targeted skills.

Teachers have kept in communication with parents and students, and even provide hours during which students can get help on certain subjects or homework.

The schools have also offered online days specific to making up work for unforeseen circumstances, like change in childcare, sickness, etc.

The high school is looking into doing a pass or fail grading system, though that is yet to be determined, according to Stoudt. He said, if not, there will be a specified numerical grading system.

In addition, the school counselor is providing online guidance for students and parents during this time.

“I just want to thank the community,” Bowers said. “This has been a trying time, but we were ready. Our community pulled together. I am appreciative to everyone.”

In other business matters, the board:

Approved the affiliation with Mansfield University and Lock Haven University as well as an agreement with Pennsylvania College of Technology for an advanced manufacturing pre-apprenticeship.

Approved the hire of Michael Sherman as head varsity boys soccer coach for the 2020-2021 school year for $4,100.

Approved an agreement between Lycoming County and the school district to collect real-estate taxes from Brady Township. The board also approved to pay Mowrey Transportation and Company $1,151.25 for the remainder of the school year to cover overhead costs associated with the school closure.

Approved the elementary meal prices for next year, there will be no change.

The school board held an executive session before Tuesday’s meeting to discuss personnel and legal issues with no action taken.

The next Montgomery School Board meeting will be held May 19 in the boardroom on Penn Street.