New Castle News

Local News

March 15, 2014

School board decides makeup days

NEW CASTLE — Despite this winter’s snow, the New Castle school district will keep its full Easter break.

The board this week agreed to return April 17 to the calendar as a student vacation day. This gives students a four-day Easter break from April 17 through 21 — as planned in the original school calendar.

Superintendent John Sarandrea also returned the March 14 winter break vacation day to the calendar. He still plans for the school year to end June 5, he said, even though the district lost three days of instruction because of snow.

Sarandrea said the district is required to provide 180 days of schooling per year and he has asked the department of education to approve his plan. Rather than extend the school year by adding June 6, 9 and 10 to the calendar, Sarandrea said, he proposed adding 20 minutes to the school day. This will provide the required number of hours of education required by the state, he noted.

Extending the school year further into June is not a good option for instruction or learning, he said.

Board member Dr. Marilyn Berkely asked if the additional 20 minutes in the school day would be adequate. She later voted against the calendar re-adjustment, which passed 6-1. Barbara Razzano and David DiGiammarino were absent.

The board approved the proposed 2014-15 calendar 7-0. It has Sept. 2 as the first day of school and June 5, 2015, as the final day.

English teacher Vince Anzalone and math teacher Jeff Pitzer, who make up the district’s Data Team, addressed the board. The two junior high teachers analyzed the district’s performance on the Keystone Exams, which assess proficiency of high school students.

Test scores have improved from last year, they said, and students have exceeded proficiencies in algebra and literature and are “close to proficiency” in biology. They outlined test results and how to identify and help students who need it.

Board members also:

•Agreed to purchase new band uniforms for $50,622 from Stanbury Uniforms of Stanbury, Conn.

•Approved the 2014-15 Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV budget.

•Approved a leave for April Lemmon, Croton pre-kindergarten instructor, effective March 6.

•Approved an abbreviated sabbatical leave for Paul Sibeto, who teaches Italian.

•Revised the maternity leave of Jenna Mozzocio, Thaddeus Stevens teacher, to end March 24.

•Adopted a policy on severance/retirement memorandums of understanding.

•Approved a date change for the Lawrence County Career and Technical Center to conduct its 2014 commencement at the junior-senior high school June 10.

•Abolished a five-hour server/kitchen position at George Washington Intermediate Elementary School and created a three-hour position in its place.

•Nominated board member George Gabriel as a candidate for the IU IV board of directors.

•Added the following to the substitute lists: Marlena Breitenstein, elementary teacher; and Elaine Cunningham, IU IV emergency teacher; Ashley Caravaggio, cafeteria worker.


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