Last year, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) established an application process for school districts seeking flexibility in how students meet the time and day requirements established for all public school districts in Pennsylvania. Flexible Instructional Days (FIDS) use a variety of strategies to provide instruction on regularly-scheduled school days when a different approach is necessary, typically due to inclement weather conditions.
For the last two school years, we have modified our school calendar by adding instructional days to the end of the school year, and postponing graduation by one week. Approximately half of these school closures were due to extremely cold temperatures where it would be unsafe for children to stand at bus stops. Realizing the potentially negative impact that these calendar revisions had on graduating seniors, and our collective ability to think outside the box, we commissioned a committee of students, parents, para-educators, secretaries, teachers, and administrators to develop a Flexible Instructional Day (FID) Plan, which was submitted to PDE last May and approved this fall.
So what does this mean to you? McGuffey School District now has four options, in addition to operating a regular school day: a delay, an early dismissal, a school closure, or a Flexible Instructional Day. The procedures for delays, early dismissals, and school closures remain unchanged.
If a Flexible Instructional Day will be used, at approximately 5:30 am, a mass phone communication message will go to all phone numbers currently listed in the student information system; the message will indicate that this will be a Flexible Instructional Day. Families then have the choice of having children complete their school day from home, or they may bring their child to school between the hours of 10:00 am and 3:00 pm. District transportation will not be provided between children’s homes and school buildings. We will, however, provide transportation between McGuffey High School and Western Area CTC for children enrolled at WACTC, pending Western Area’s operating times.
By 10:00 am of a Flexible Instructional Day, children must notify McGuffey School District of how they wish to attend school for the day: from home or at school. In order to prevent busy phone lines and extended wait times for callers, we prefer that children report their attendance electronically (by signing in via the District website). We will practice this process with children in the coming weeks, and we will also demonstrate this process during our building-level parent meetings.
If, however, children are unable to access the Internet from home, families may call the school office to confirm attendance for the day. Attendance via telephone must be completed by building, so if you have children in multiple buildings, multiple calls must be placed. Please be patient, as there may be extended wait times or busy signals.
Any child who does not sign in via the District website or call the school office will be marked absent for the day, and families will be required to provide an excuse. When signing in, children will need to indicate whether they are participating from home, will be coming to school, and whether they will need a school lunch available to them. Attendance and lunch counts will ensure that our teachers and cafeteria workers may plan appropriately for the remainder of the day.
Teachers will post all assignments and class work to Google Classroom by 10:00 am on a Flexible Instructional Day. Children may access the material on Google Classroom from home and/or come to the school building between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm. Any assignments made on the Flexible Instructional Day will be due within five school days. (This is to accommodate families with multiple children and Internet connection capabilities.)
A Flexible Instructional Day counts as a regular school day for students. Again, this means that attendance (from home or at school) and assignment requirements must be met. Please remember that transportation between home and school will not be provided on Flexible Instructional Days; we will, however, provide transportation between McGuffey High School and Western Area Career and Technical Center for those high school students enrolled in both schools.
As this is new for all of us, we anticipate questions. District administrators will hold informational meetings in each building to answer any questions you may have about Flexible Instructional Days:
Joe Walker Elementary School
December 4, 2015
McGuffey Middle School
December 11, 2015
December 14, 2015
Claysville Elementary School
December 17, 2015
Library (PTO Meeting)
McGuffey High School
December 18, 2015
If you are unable to attend a meeting scheduled for your child’s building, you are welcome to attend a meeting in another building. Additional information will continued to be added to our District website at www.mcguffey.k12.pa.us.