On the evening of August 22, 2019, following a vote to approve a revised 2019-20 School Calendar at the Board Workshop, Superintendent Dr. Allyn J. Roche sent the following message to the UPSD community:
Dear UPSD Parents/Guardians -
As superintendent of Upper Perk, I am excited to write this letter and welcome you to the 2019-2020 school year. As many of you know, this summer was filled with a new construction project, a renovation project and grade-level configuration changes. There are new administrative, faculty and support staff personnel transitions and changes, along with the traditional summer activities and preparation work necessary for opening the school year. I can assure you that everyone put in a tremendous effort and focus for a successful start of the 2019-20 school year for the students, families, faculty and staff.
With that said, I also must share with you that the administration made a recommendation to the School Board at tonight’s Board Workshop to adjust the 2019-20 School Calendar to push back the first day of school for all Upper Perkiomen School District students by two days. The Board accepted that recommendation and voted to approve a revised 2019-20 School Calendar, with school starting for ALL UPSD students on Thursday, September 5. As the Western Center begins classes on August 26, Western Center students will continue to be bussed from UPHS on September 3 & 4.
Please know that this decision was not made lightly, and we understand that the impact of this last minute change will be far reaching for our faculty, staff, students, families and the Upper Perk community as a whole. This recommendation was only made after extensive walkthroughs at both the new Middle School and the renovated 4th & 5th Grade Center over the last few weeks, and many conversations. With the Board’s support, we determined that we need additional time to properly clean and prepare the classrooms and work stations with technology, telephones and supplies. This is necessary in order to welcome our faculty and staff to an appropriate work environment, and our students to an appropriate learning environment that meets Upper Perk standards. Even with this additional time to prepare for the new school year, we are still asking for your continued patience, flexibility and resiliency for a successful start.
I am sure there are mixed emotions about this decision, but our goal is to start the year off successfully for the entire UPSD community. We have also pushed our teacher start date back by two days (we’ll welcome them on Thursday, August 29). Pushing the entire calendar back two days will actually provide a full week of support for our in-house staff to focus their complete resources at the 4th & 5th Grade Center and the Middle School.
As a reminder, student schedules, homeroom teacher and transportation information will be available in Skyward beginning Friday August 23, at 3 p.m. Building principals will also be sending emails in the coming days with information on activities and events planned for late August that may need to be rescheduled. Please keep an eye out for those communications.
For our students and families that will be attending the 4th & 5th Grade Center and the Middle School this year, we are thrilled to be able to offer a “Preview Night” on Wednesday, September 4, 2019 between 4:30pm and 7:00pm at both schools! We know that many students are nervous and anxious to start school in a new environment and this is an opportunity to see the new buildings before the first day of school. While this is not a formal back-to-school night, it will give students and families an opportunity to walk the halls of these two buildings and get the lay of the land before the first day of school.
The changes that were made to the calendar reflect our commitment to providing the best educational experience possible for our students and families. The decision was made to adjust the calendar for ALL FIVE UPSD schools, and not just the two schools involved in construction projects, in order to maintain district unity once we are past the initial days of the school year. For students, Friday, January 31, 2020 and Friday, March 20, 2020 have been changed from a full in-service day (no school for students) to now a full student school day. The revised school calendar still maintains two emergency/snow days and there is no impact to graduation or the end of the school year dates. Find the revised 2019-20 school calendar here.
In my short time as superintendent, one ongoing theme continues to surface: Everyone is PROUD of Upper Perk and PROUD to be a part of the district and the community. As I shared in my letter in July, I take very seriously that you have entrusted your children to our care, and I firmly believe that our faculty and staff will give their best, day in and day out. As your superintendent, I promise to give you my best, day in and day out.
I apologize for the last minute change in the school calendar, and please know that all efforts were made to avoid this situation, but we want to start the year off properly for everyone. I look forward to seeing everyone as the school year begins.
Dr. Allyn J. Roche
Superintendent of Schools
Upper Perkiomen School District
View Dr. Roche's presentation to the Board with the recommendation to move the first day of school to September 5 here.