Students at 17 Archdiocese of Philadelphia high schools will return tomorrow after teachers approved a new contract today.

The Association of Catholic Teachers voted 589 to 41 in favor of the three-year deal, ending a strike that began Sept. 6 and caused students to miss four days of instruction. Teachers have already returned to the classroom today for orientation and will welcome about 16,000 students back tomorrow.

"It really gives us a cutting-edge program for the students and parents that we serve," said Secretary of Catholic Education Richard McCarron, who described the pact as a watershed contract.

As part of the agreement, all teachers will be required to use the online course management system, the Archdiocese will implement national technology standards for teaching and will be able to hire part-time teachers to expand course offerings. Also, teachers will now work for 190 days, up from 187, and the instructional period will be lengthened starting next year.

 

Over the three-year deal, teachers will receive an 8.3 percent wage increase.

Students will have to make up the four days missed, but it is not clear exactly when.

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