APS changes times, date of last day

ALPENA – The last day for Alpena Public Schools is set for June 7. Students will attend in the morning and be dismissed for the afternoon in order for teachers to be able to participate in their required professional development activities.

The year originally was set to end for students on June 4, but with this year’s winter weather conditions and full-day school closings, the district would be short of the required number of instructional days and hours for the 2012-13 academic year.

“This has been a difficult winter for weather,” Superintendent Brent Holcomb said. “We have to make snow day calls based on conditions over a very large area. In the end, you have to do what’s right for kids’ safety.”

Beginning May 6, five minutes will be added to the end of each day at all elementary schools. This will change the dismissal times as follows: Besser, Lincoln and Ella White will dismiss at 3:44 p.m. Hinks, Sanborn and Wilson will dismiss at 4:05 p.m. These changes will remain in effect through the end of the year. The added minutes help compensate for the fact that the elementary day has slightly fewer instructional minutes than students in grades 6-12 experience, leaving them a bit short of the number of required hours for the year.

The April 12 snow day will not add to the amount of time APS will be making up. The state permits up to six days of school to be canceled due to weather or other events without requiring a makeup. Districts may request a waiver for any snow days that occur after April 1. Districts also are able to count teacher professional development time toward that total, so in-service days and early release days do not lengthen the school year for students.

For more information on school days and hours, check the district’s online calendar at www.alpenaschools.com for the most up-to-date information. The district also will make every effort to inform school families through newsletters, social media and the SchoolMessenger calling system, about the added minutes and changes to the schedule. Anyone who has questions or concerns are encouraged to contact their school office.

APS will be offering an informational session for students and parents interested in the APS Online education program. APS Online is a tuition-free distance learning program provided through the school. This program allows students in grades 6-12 to take classes, full- or part-time, through the Internet. The presentation will be held Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in the high school auditorium.

Nicole Grulke can be reached via email at ngrulke@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5687. Follow Nicole on Twitter @ng_alpenanews.