Every student will have an opportunity to learn about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy

Every student will have an opportunity to learn about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy
Posted on 01/12/2019

Good afternoon!

This evening the School Board will have its initial discussion on the QCSD Calendar for Academic Year ‘18-'19. Later this month at the January 25th School Board Meeting, the Board is scheduled to adopt the Calendar for next year. It is a requirement by PA State Code for the Board to approve the school calendar each year.

You may remember, four years ago during my first two months as superintendent, we missed seven school days due to snow and freezing temperatures, ending up with a total of nine missed days during 2013-14. The QCSD Calendar for AY ‘13-'14, did not have days specifically designated as "Emergency Make-Up Days." We are required to provide 180 days of instruction, so with 181 student school days in the calendar, we must make up all missed days after the first one.

In February of 2014, after we announced our plan on making up those days using the designated non-instructional days we received received some criticism from parents and a formal grievance from the teachers professional association, QCEA. Subsequently, the Board approved a revised district school calendar with "emergency make-up days" clearly designated (Martin Luther King Day being one of them) that resulted in the grievance being withdrawn and very few parents having issues since then with the new process. Had we not used makeup days during the winter and spring, school would not have ended until June 25th! We have used this methodology for the past four years to provide clarity and consistency in what days we will use as makeup days.

Earlier this week, in consultation with QCEA, I sent out a reminder about the snow make-up day on Monday, which is Martin Luther King Day. It is the first designated emergency make-up day on our calendar. Afterwards, I was thrilled to receive thoughtful emails from a student, and two of our faculty members regarding the sensitivity of having a make-up day on MLK Day. I received a couple emails from parents suggesting we move the emergency make-up days to the end of the school year, and read numerous social media comments. Your opinion matters, so please share it with us at Board@qcsd.org.

With the unfortunate situation that happened in the fall in mind, and our strategies to combat racism, disrespect, and hate in our community, we have a wonderful opportunity to both stick with this year's published calendar and honor Dr. King. Every student will have the opportunity during their social studies period of instruction on Monday to learn about Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy. In Seoul, Korea in the mid-‘90's, I had the privilege to hear Coretta Scott King and Dexter King speak, then I had the privilege to share the podium with Martin Luther King III in Harrisburg in 2013 during a remembrance. Dr. King's importance and legacy for basic human rights, respect and tolerance should not be lost on anyone. It is not on me, nor the School Board.

Again, the Board will have its first discussion on the QCSD Calendar for AY ‘18-'19. For next year, we will be suggesting that we change the traditional practice of designating MLK Day as an Emergency Make-Up Day, but continue to designate these make-up days throughout the second half of the school year instead of putting them all at the end. Please find the draft 2018-19 Calendar and a Fact Sheet on the School Calendar Development Process in tonight's BoardDocs agenda.

Thank you.

Bill Harner

Superintendent, QCSD

WHarner@qcsd.org

@BillHarner

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