More than 20 students showed up Thursday night to address the board about the recent onslaught of delays and cancellations that have pushed the school year into mid-June.
Senior Taylor Kline spoke to the board, saying the senior class has many concerns about the length of the school year, and asked the board to consider looking at options for keeping graduation within the first week of June.
That is the week that the last day of school was supposed to happen. But with the six snow days so far, the last day for students is now June 11.
Before the meeting, several students explained why they decided to speak about the snow days.
Family, college:Carly Frisby and Kline are starting at Penn State's main campus June 29 for a summer session. Kline said that means they'll be going straight from high school to college, with less than a month in between.
For most in the group, knowing the graduation date was the largest concern. Regan Clevenger, the senior class president, said she has family members from five countries invited to attend the graduation ceremony. Some of them had already scheduled flights from France, Mexico and India.
Now, Clevenger said, some of her family might not be able to come because of the cost associated with changing flights and travel plans.
Kline said before the meeting that she and her classmates decided to address the board members because they wanted to turn classroom complaints into action.
"Someone had to say something," Kline said.
State requirements:In her comments to the board, Kline highlighted several rules from the state Department of Education regarding requirements for graduation, including the 990-hour requirement for secondary students. Kline said some vacation days in the year are in-service days for teachers, and asked the board to consider working with teachers to allow students to attend those days of school.
Following Kline's comments, Superintendent Ron Dyer thanked her and the students for sharing their thoughts with the board.
Dyer said there are alternatives the district is investigating for making up school days, but that the district will face penalties if students don't attend school for the required amount of time.
"That has a broader concern for our community," Dyer said.
Goal:Dyer said it is the administration's goal to hold graduation in the first week of June, but said he cannot guarantee that for families because there are still several weeks of winter left.
Board member Kristin Phillips-Hill said she was "impressed" with Kline's comments and was happy to see the students advocating for themselves and their classmates.
Phillips-Hill, the chairwoman of the policy committee, said the board will take the students' concerns to heart and will do what they can within the confines of the law to allow students to graduate "in a timely fashion."
She added she has a child who is a Dallastown senior, who is also talking about graduating earlier rather than later.
"You have a lobbyist that works 24 hours a day at my house," she said.
Dyer said in a previous meeting the graduation date is not set until April 1.
— Reach Nikelle Snader at firstname.lastname@example.org.