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All-day career center plan OK'd with a twist

June 15, 2006|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Sophomore and juniors from the Chambersburg Area School District who attend the Franklin County Career and Technology Center will attend the center all year for both career and academic classes in 2006-07, but the Chambersburg School Board voted to allow this year's seniors to attend one semester at the high school.

The decision was a change from the all-year, all-day plan the district had proposed and which many parents and students had raised objections to at a public meeting Monday night. While the Class of 2007 will be able to attend Chambersburg Senior High School for one semester, however, that will not be the case in future years.

"Very disappointed," parent Tina Sanders said of the vote. Monday night her son Andy, who is entering his junior year, said the all-day, all-year plan would prevent career center students from seeing their high school classmates during the school year and segregate them from the school.

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The change in scheduling is the third in as many years for Chambersburg students who attend the center.

Two years ago those students attended the center one semester and the high school the other, the same as students from the other five school districts that send students there. Last year, Chambersburg decided to send its 400 career and technology students to the center half of each day, while taking academic courses at the high school the other half.

A number of students and parents objected to the half-day schedule and, though the board voted in February to continue the policy in 2006-07, the center's Joint Operating Committee voted in April to end Chambersburg's attendance policy.

In May, the Joint Operating Committee, made up of representatives from all six schools districts in the county, did approve incoming Chambersburg superintendent Joseph Padasak's plan for a comprehensive career technology program for Chambersburg students.

Eric Michael, the district's assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, said the administration recommendation to allow seniors to attend the high school for half the year took into consideration the concern parents and students expressed "that this is the third delivery system in three years."

When the seniors are taking academic courses at the high school, however, they will be in block scheduling, "a schedule within a schedule," Michael said. With block scheduling, the career and technology students will be in classes 78 minutes, twice as long as the classes taken by other high school students.

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