County School officials are considering three options for a 2013-2014 school calendar. In the discussion, Supt. Rick Smith said a central aim is "more face time between teachers and students."
Supt. Smith said student half-days for the parent-teacher conferences have been eliminated because there is little instructional time involved. There will be a separate day for the state-required parent-teacher conferences.
Also, student registration will no longer be counted as a student instructional day. Instead, registration will be schedule during a regular teacher in-service day and buses will not run.
The school system will "stockpile" eight days for inclement weather instead of seven, thus eliminating a sixth professional development day. Only five professional development days will be scheduled.
Supt. Smith said officials are also looking at ways to trim student assessment time and replace it with more teaching time.
All school employees will get to give their opinion in a vote in early November, then the school board will make a selection probably at the November meeting.
Board member Greg Martin said he, for one, is likely to go along with the winner of the employee vote.
Stacy Stewart, assistant superintendent for human resources who crafted the three plans, said she expects it to be between 1 and 2. She expects 3 to finish "a landslide last."
Option 3 has a later start date for teachers and students with no fall break. Teachers would miss one pay cycle (but not lose any pay) at the beginning of the school year. The first full day of school for students is Friday, Aug. 16.
On plans 1 and 2, students have their first full day on Aug. 8.
Board member Jonathan Welch questioned why students go a day (or more in plan 3) after Memorial Day. Mr. Martin said that is a "throwaway" day. Ms. Stewart said the alternative is starting school even earlier, and she said she tries to balance the number of days in the first and second semesters.
Plan 1 gives a week of fall break Oct. 21-25, while plan 2 has Oct. 18 and 21 for fall break, but gives the full week of Thanksgiving off. Board member Joe Galloway said that makes more sense because many students skip the first two days of Thanksgiving week.
Board member Rhonda Thurman said the calendar is replete with breaks. She said it should be crafted more with the needs of students in mind and with not breaking up their learning patterns rather than the desires of teachers.
She said teachers "should be more like the rest of us who never get any paid days off."
There are 180 required days of instruction, and teachers work 201 days.