The loss of school days due to winter weather is causing the Tamaqua Area School District to adjust its calendar.

The district had four weather make-up days built into its 2010-11 calendar, with all of them in April. To date, Tamaqua Area has lost four school days because of winter storms.

One of the missed days was made up last month on Monday, Jan. 17, which was utilized as an Act 80 day, during which the students had off from school but teachers reported to work.

During Tuesday evening's education committee meeting, Superintendent Carol Makuta recommended using Presidents Day, Monday, Feb. 21, as an emergency weather make-up day instead of dipping into the April snow day reserve.

Presidents Day had been originally scheduled as a holiday for the district.

If the district uses Feb. 21 as a make-up day, two other days would be made up in April, which would leave Thursday, April 21, and Monday, April 25, as days off as part of a spring break (Easter Sunday is April 24).

If the district opted to use Presidents Day as a day off as originally scheduled, one more of the April dates might need to be utilized as a make-up day.

Some concern was expressed as to whether having students report for school on Presidents Day would give enough notice for parents, who might have to alter their own plans after expecting a three-day weekend.

"That (Presidents Day) is 13 days from now. Is that OK?" asked school director Aaron Frantz.

"I am sure that it could inconvenience some, and some will be unhappy, but we can't predict the weather," said Makuta, "The question is, do we make it up now or in April?"

Makuta suggested that if more snow days are needed between now and April, she would have to seek creative solutions regarding make-up days, once they are used up.

The education committee approved Makuta's request for Presidents Day. The school board can finalize the decision at its monthly meeting next Tuesday.

Destruction

of records

In other business, the district is advertising a notice of the destruction of special education records.

"The I.U. (Schuylkill Intermediate Unit 29) has handled the maintaining of Tamaqua special education records," explained Makuta. "If the child was born before 1982, the child's records will be destroyed.

"We had the choice of having the IU ship them to the Tamaqua Area School District to destroy, or give parents notice if they want them. We elected to have the IU destroy them if parents don't want them."

The records will be held for 30 days, beginning Feb. 15, and will be destroyed after that time.

The district is publicizing the following notice regarding the records.

"The Tamaqua Area School District will destroy all Special Education records seven years after a student graduates, moves, or drops out of school. If you would like a copy of your child's records before they are destroyed, please contact the Special Education Office at (570) 668-2566. There will be a service fee of 25 cents per single side page. For more information, please see the complete notice on the TASD website."

New courses

Stephen Toth, high school vice principal, discussed the addition of three courses to the curriculum.

Introduction to business, a one-half credit class, is being considered as an elective and not required for graduation. Makuta said the course could become part of the district's cyber academy once it had been added.

There was also discussion regarding the addition of pre-calculus and pre-calculus honors classes. The district is changing its mathematics curriculum from Saxon Math to Prentice Hall, and the new courses proposed are part of the sequence in math classes as published in the Prentice Hall textbooks.

"What does Pre-calc mean?" asked Board President Larry A. Wittig.

Toth explained that pre-calculus is actually trigonometry in the Prentice Hall sequence.

Board treasurer Daniel E. Schoener asked if separate textbooks would need to be purchased due to creating the courses. Assistant Superintendent Raymond J. Kinder said no. Makuta said the district has already budgeted for the transition to Prentice Hall textbooks and the books already include pre-calculus in their course sequence.

In other matters, the auxiliary committee approved the appointment of board secretary Robert W. Betz to serve on the Schuylkill IU Board for a three-year term.

The request of Ski Club adviser Thorn Devlin's request to chaperone the club on its overnight trip to Killington, Vt., from Friday, March 19, to Sunday, March 20, was approved.

The education committee approved requests for a field trip to The Exhibition in New York City by Roseann Weinrich and her anatomy and physiology classes for Thursday, March 3, and by Sally LeMasters, Middle School media center teacher, to attend the 2011 Book Expo America Conference in New York in May.