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Lower Merion

April 10, 2013 Dear Parents/Guardians:

301 East Montgomery Ave. Ardmore, PA 19003-3399 Phone: 610-645-1800 Fax: 610-645-0703

School District

As you may know, the Districts Curriculum, Instruction and Professional Development Council has been meeting to discuss changes to the elementary schedule for next year. The goals are to maximize the use of instructional time to support students in their learning and adapt to new state and federal testing and accountability mandates. The elementary principals will continue this conversation over the next month in an effort to provide a formal recommendation to the Board of School Directors in May. We have received a number of emails from parents in recent days about the importance of maintaining our strong focus on music, arts, physical education and world language instruction, as we prepare for new and more rigorous standards in literacy, mathematics, science and social studies. We greatly appreciate your feedback and want you to know that we have shared many of your thoughts and concerns in our ongoing dialogue. This has been a difficult, but necessary conversation. It is our responsibility to keep an open mind and to consider a variety of options and strategies. We remain strong because we are willing to examine our practices. At this time, we would like to provide some important information regarding our discussions: Please note that NO decisions (or even recommendations) regarding the elementary schedule have yet been made. Several issues under review have been publicly presented to the Boards curriculum committee, but these are discussion points and not action items. There has been NO discussion regarding the elimination of any of the subjects currently in place (art, music, world language, etc.). These areas deeply enrich the lives of our children and are essential to student success and a well-rounded education. We are seeking to create time within the structure of the existing school day at each grade level during which children can be provided with the instructional supports and programs they need, so they are not spending time away from core subject areas. We are working to ensure that our teachers have adequate time in their daily schedules to deliver the instructional program in literacy, mathematics, science and social studies with fidelity.

Our goal is to provide the best possible educational experience for your children, within the context of numerous competing priorities. We embrace this responsibility and recognize that it is not an easy task. The increase in mandates and performance outcomes, the shift in instructional requirements, the demands on students to meet rigorous academic standards, the implementation of Common Core Standards and how this translates into measuring student, teacher and school performance are part of the changing landscape in education. Lower Merion School District has always taken a leadership role in adapting and innovating to successfully meet the needs of students. We approach these new challenges as opportunities for improvement and growth. As we move forward, your continued input, passion, care and concern will be critical in this effort. If you have additional ideas and suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact your school principal. The final recommendations will be shared with all parents prior to the May 6 meeting of the Curriculum Committee of the Board. That meeting will be an opportunity to make comments on the final proposal. We welcome your thoughtful feedback regarding aligning the elementary school schedule to maximize instructional time in all areas of the curriculum. Sincerely, Shawn Bernatowicz Principal, Penn Wynne ES Pam Hart Principal, Belmont Hills ES Anne Heffron Principal, Merion ES James Johnson Principal, Gladwyne ES Daniel Martino Principal, Cynwyd ES Scott Mitchell Principal, Penn Valley ES