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Quakertown will promote all students to next grade


Quakertown Community School District will promote all students despite months of learning loss and limited direct instruction online.

Speaking at a virtual board meeting last week, Superintendent Bill Harner assured parents that all students will move on to the next grade in the 2020-2021 school year but expressed concern that traditional summer learning loss would be exacerbated given that students have only received in-class instruction for three-quarters of the school year. Assistant Superintendent Lisa Hoffman said the district would examine what content has not yet been covered, and integrate those concepts into next year’s curricula.

Director Chris Spear asked if students would return to school earlier than normal to stem the learning slide. Harner replied that he was waiting for guidance from the state, and will adjust next year’s calendar following consultations with Palisades and Pennridge districts.

Board members cleared up misconceptions that the district was not saving a lot of money from its extended closure, pointing out district was still paying its contracted staff, honoring its outstanding maintenance and busing contracts. Directors deferred action on the preliminary budget until May 14 to see to see how the faltering economy would impact tax revenues in the future.

“Everything’s changing so quickly. We should have a lot more answers as the weeks go by,” said board President Kaylyn Mitchell, who began the Zoom meeting by somberly describing the upheaval the pandemic has caused. On a lighter note, at least one board member, Jonathan Kern, combined work with a work out, taking part while on his treadmill. “There’s probably 60 people in here, and I think half tuned in to see if Jon was still walking,” joked board member Brian Reimers.