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Inspiring and Preparing Today’s Learners to Embrace Tomorrow’s Challenges

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  • BASD ACT 71 Training Link
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    Bellefonte Area School District
    wins national award,
    MAGNA - Honorable Mention,
     for their community literacy program - Bellefonte READS
    Bellefonte Area School District is one of five districts featuring the learning opportunities and initiatives that are 'making an impact' within Pennsylvania.   Take a few minutes and watch the Making An Impact videos focusing on our kindergarten and mindfulness pilots at Bellefonte Elementary: https://spaces.hightail.com/space/Z0jMlkUvtV       
    Bellefonte Area School District is a great place to learn and grow; we are Bellefonte proud! 
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    Inclement Weather

         It is almost that time again and given the frustration and confusion inclement weather can cause - on any given day, I think it is important that we convey to everyone the process we move through when considering delays, early dismissals, and school closings.   Making these calls can be some of our toughest decisions as we always want to ensure the safety of our students and staff while balancing it with continuity of learning. 

         The information remains accurate from last year with a small change.  This year we will be adding a three (3) hour delay option.  What does this mean to you and your family?  The district may call a one hour delay, a two hour delay, or a cancellation dependent upon the current weather or predicted weather pattern(s).  The decisions may also be incremental - you could first receive a call for a one hour delay and then approximately an hour or so later receive a call for a two or three hour delay or a cancellation.  Or, they could jump over delay increments and we could go from a one hour delay to a cancellation, a two hour delay to a three hour delay, or a one hour delay to a three hour delay, or any combination of the calls.  We encourage you to take a moment now to ensure you have back-up childcare arrangements should imclement weather necessitate any of the above calls. 

         We understand that delays, closings, and early dismissals not only disrupt our classrooms, but also our children's homelife as parents and other caretakers can be challenged to find childcare on short notice.  However, we also do not ever want to put a child in harm's way if the data is leading us to believe road conditions will be unsafe for travel.

         And so...

         To our families – over the next month or so and into early spring we will most likely experience our winter weather.  If we are to believe the forecasts, it promises to be an active weather pattern again this year.  Therefore, it is important for everyone to understand the process the district goes through when facing potential inclement weather.

         Decisions are made with consideration of all of the information available to us at that time.  We look to the insight and data provided by our local meteorologists as well as Penn DOT and our local township road crews.  Depending upon the data, sometimes we venture out ourselves to check our roads and include that information in our decisions.  

         Generally, unless there is a specific incident affecting a single district, the decision to delay, close, or dismiss early is made in conjunction with our surrounding districts.  We do this both to ensure safety across our region as well as to maximize educational hours – including those of our students attending CPI. 

         If the inclement weather forecast is for the next day, we participate in a conference call between 4:45 and 5:00 AM.  At that time we consider the data and recommendations from our experts, the radar loops and information we each have readily available, the timing of our bus schedules, and any other factors that could affect our decision.   A decision is generally made by 5:15 at which time all of our districts begin our respective phone calls and alert messages.  If we decide on a delay, we generally meet again via a conference call at 7:00 AM and reevaluate our decision.  It is at this time, between 7:10 – 7:20, you may begin to receive calls with updated information.  If you do not receive an additional call, or see/hear any changes reported through the TV or radio stations, you may assume the decision has not changed from the initial call.  We begin at this time as our busses are preparing to leave as early as 6:00 AM. 

         Because our weather is unpredictable and the patterns often change direction or intensity, unless we are sure of a negative effect of the weather on our ability to safely transport our children, we will not make the call the evening before.   However, if the threat is significant and we are confident of the need for a delay or closing the next day, you would receive a call at some point in the early to mid-evening.   

         Early dismissals are called as early in the day as possible based upon the data and weather forecasts.

         Please note Bellefonte Area School District, as well as our surrounding school districts, makes every effort to ensure a decision that best balances the safety and education of our students with the potential effects of the impending weather.  It is complicated.  We have 114 square miles of roads often with varying degrees of potentially hazardous weather conditions.  Our forecasters don’t always ‘get it right’, the weather doesn’t always cooperate, and the data sometimes changes very quickly – hence, we will not always make a ‘call’ with which you agree.  With that in mind we never suggest you send your child out into a situation that you deem unsafe.    Your child’s safety is our first consideration.

         Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our Director of Fiscal Affairs or our Transportation Coordinator. 

         Please also note, although this is the general procedure we follow, specific emergency or weather circumstances could cause us to make adaptations within this procedure. 

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    The Bellefonte Area School District believes in an inclusive and welcoming environment for all people.  We embrace diversity and work to ensure all people have access to equitable opportunities for learning and professional growth.  Board policies #103 and #104 govern our practice:
     
    The Board declares it to be the policy of this district to provide an equal opportunity for all students to achieve their maximum potential through the programs offered in the schools regardless of race, color, age, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, ancestry, national origin, marital status, pregnancy or handicap/disability.

    The Board declares it to be the policy of this district to provide to all persons equal access to all categories of employment in this district, regardless of race, color, age, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, ancestry, national origin, handicap/disability, or genetic information. The district shall make reasonable accommodations for identified physical and mental impairments that constitute disabilities, consistent with the requirements of federal and state laws and regulations.

    Should you believe you have experienced an event or circumstance that is contradictory to our policy, please contact either our Human Resources department or the Superintendent's office.
     
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    Helping parents meet the needs of our earliest learners is important to our district.  If you are interested in exploring any of the following pre-K opportunities - Head Start, Early Head Start, or PA Pre-K Counts, please call the Wingate office of CenClear at 814-353-0791 or reach them through their web address at:  www.cenclear.org 
     
     
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