PENNCREST School Board held its first discussion Monday regarding the calendar for the 2020-21 school year, though a vote on a final version of the calendar is not expected until March.

The preliminary version of the schedule set the first day of classes for students at Sept. 2 and a final day for June 11.

"Our goal is to line up Crawford Central, Conneaut and our calendar to the best that we can," Superintendent Timothy Glasspool said. "And the purpose is our vo-tech students benefit."

Classes offered at the Crawford County Career & Technical Center only run if two of the three school districts which take classes there send students, Glasspool said. PENNCREST is one of the local member school districts who sends students, with the other two being Crawford Central and Conneaut school districts.

"So if we're in session on a day Conneaut and Crawford aren't, our kids are going to lose hours," he said.

Only two days off in PENNCREST's draft calendar do not lineup with the other school district calendars, according to Glasspool. These two days are Dec. 23, which is part of the district's 10-day Christmas and New Year's break, and Jan. 25, which is a day teachers work but students have off.

There were a few matters of concern raised during Monday's PENNCREST meeting regarding the calendar that may lead to revisions. One of these came from board member Tim Brown, who expressed concern about the day set aside for parent/teacher conferences.

In the draft version of the calendar, parent/teacher conference day is set for Oct. 12, which is the Northwest Tri-County Intermediate Unit in-service day for the school year, according to Glasspool. Brown thought that date, roughly six weeks after the start of school, was too soon.

"Teachers I've spoken with last year — and parents — said it was too early," Brown said. "They would like it later."

Brown suggested moving it to November, December or January. However, Glasspool said there were several difficulties in rescheduling the day.

The superintendent said he would have preferred to schedule the conferences for Oct. 30, which was set as a professional development day with no class for students. Glasspool said due to contracts, he cannot change a teacher's schedule on a Friday, which Oct. 30 would be. This would mean the conferences would have to be held during normal school hours, something which was done during the current school year to poor reception.

"This year, I had (the conferences) go 7 (a.m.) to 3:25 (p.m.), and I got the most complaints I've ever got from parents about that," he said.

Glasspool suggested picking a different day but said that would affect Career & Technical Center students, as they would lose a day of class the other district students would attend.

The other matter of concern was raised by Glasspool. Two professional development days in the draft calendar are scheduled for Aug. 27 and 28, which would be during the Crawford County Fair, a decision which Glasspool acknowledged might not be popular.

"I think there may be some community backlash in general," the superintendent said.

Two alternatives were proposed by Glasspool. One would place the two days on June 14 and 15, though that would be after the last day of school for students, something which the superintendent thought would not be liked by teachers.

The other idea was to still have the days during the fair but schedule them for Aug. 26 and 27, giving teachers a three-day weekend before classes began.

Glasspool said he would work further on the calendar. He said a new version might be presented at Thursday's PENNCREST meeting, though it's more likely it would be brought up again during next month's meetings.

Sean P. Ray can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at sray@meadvilletribune.com.

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