Bellefonte Area School District cements graduation date as June 11

The Bellefonte Area school board approved an amended school schedule Tuesday night that set a definitive graduation date of June 11.

The date was pushed back by nearly a week due to a high amount of snow days.

To make up the days, Superintendent Cheryl Potteiger said students would have to attend school during two previously scheduled vacation days to fulfill commonwealth regulations that require all public school districts to have 180 days of class or 990 hours of education at the secondary school level and 900 hours at the elementary level.

The board also went over quarterly progress reports that included teacher recognition awards, and school and program updates.

Thirteen staff members were given awards for their outstanding work in the district.

Three school administrators are also working to improve the BeLA program — Bellefonte eLearning Academy.

In its fifth year, the program will be revamped to help bridge the gap between high school and higher education by possibly providing classes that can be transferred into college credit. Students enrolled would have the opportunity to use the program on a 24/7 basis and both study online and in the classroom, and receive a Bellefonte diploma after graduation.

Assistant Superintendent Michelle Saylor said the district is working with students, parents and the community to see what program would fit the right mold for the district as part of the its strategic plan.

The district is looking to also work with a third party that would provide an online learning platform.

Middle School Principal Sommer Garman said the program began in 2009 with 15 students. By the end of last school year, there were 32. Statistics presented at the meeting forecast that by 2030, 40 percent of the school district would be enrolled in cyber learning.

“We’re bringing the best to Bellefonte,” said program coordinator Rebecca Leitzell.