Dallas School Board approves 2017-18 calendar and new sixth-grade math program

By Eileen Godin - egodin@timesleader.com


    DALLAS TWP. —In preparation for the new school year, Dallas School Board members approved the 2017-18 academic calendar and a new sixth-grade math program Monday.

    Classes will start around the time they usually do for Dallas students this fall, despite rumors to the contrary.

    The 2017-18 school year calendar sets the first day of school for teachers as Aug. 29 and for students as Sept. 6. The anticipated end of the academic year is June 7, 2018.

    The dates hold importance for a community where rumors circulated that the start of the new school year would be delayed until October due to the 2016-17 schedule not ending until June 30.

    The current academic year was extended past the June 6 end date due to a teachers’ strike which ran from Nov. 14 to Dec. 19.

    Also Monday, the school board accepted retirement notices from Norbert Swithers, the Dallas High home and school visitor counselor, and Michael Shevock, a Dallas Middle School guidance counselor.

    Swithers has served the district for nearly 20 years, according to Business Manager Grant Palfey.

    Shevock has been a guidance counselor at Dallas for about 36 years, Palfey said.

    Teacher Linda Shrader and maintenance employee Alpha Hilbert will also retire.

    In other news, the board members approved the purchase of two new textbooks for the new school year.

    “Mankiw’s Principals of Economics, seventh edition,” will be purchased at a cost not to exceed $7,000 for the the high school.

    A new math program for sixth-graders in 2017-18 will be implemented at the middle school, according to Middle School Principal Jeffrey Shaffer.

    “Big Ideas Math, A Common Core Curriculum,” a math textbook will be purchased for $19,430. The cost of the books will be spread out over six years.

    The math program is based on the framework of the Pennsylvania Common Core, Shaffer said.

    “It fits into 50-minute intervals, which works really well for us opposed to the 90-minute intervals we are currently working with,” he said.

    The new textbook offers an interactive DVD for students, a student manual that can be downloaded in a PDF format and an online component access for students and parents to help with homework, Shaffer said.

    The new program will also save the district money.

    “We currently are spending $7,000 a year on consumables,” which are items such as workbooks and worksheets, Shaffer said.

    The existing sixth-grade math curriculum uses “Everyday Mathematics” by McGraw Hill Education, which is based on the University of Chicago School Mathematics program.

    To aid students further, the middle school recented piloted an online math program called IXL.com.

    The program is available for all grade levels and designed to help children master different mathematical skills, said Wynn Nardone, a math and computer teacher.

    Nardone said a select group of students tested the online program and reported the service was easy to use.

    The subscription for the online service will cost no more than $7,000, Shaffer said.

    The next Dallas School Board meeting is 7 p.m. May 8 in the administration building.


    By Eileen Godin


    Reach Eileen Godin at 570-991-6387 or on Twitter @TLNews.

    Reach Eileen Godin at 570-991-6387 or on Twitter @TLNews.

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