2017-05-03 / School News

School board approves calendar for the 2017-2018 school year

by Kate Evans

The Morgan County School Board approved the 2017-2018 traditional school calendar with a full week of spring break for Morgan County Schools at their April 25 meeting. Their action took place in their 6 p.m. regular meeting which immediately followed the second calendar hearing at 5:45 p.m. The first school calendar hearing occurred at 9 a.m. on April 18.

School Treasurer Ann Bell said the board had received no public comments about the two calendar drafts by e-mail or at the board office. There were no public comments made at either school calendar hearings. Bell said previously that the main difference between the two calendar drafts was that the other calendar draft had a shortened spring break.

Favored by schools

Bell said the traditional calendar draft with the full week of spring break was favored by the schools from which they’d heard, which were Berkeley Springs High School, Paw Paw Schools, Pleasant View Elementary and Warm Springs Intermediate School. The calendar most closely matched the school calendar that Berkeley County Schools was expected to adopt. James Rumsey Technical Institute follows the Berkeley County Schools calendar.

2017-2018 calendar

Under the approved 2017- 2018 school calendar, the first day of school for students will be August 21 and the first day for staff August 16. The last day of school for students will be May 31.

Graduation dates for the 2017-2018 school year would be Thursday, May 24 for Berkeley Springs High School and Friday, May 25 for Paw Paw High School with graduation for Berkeley Springs High School alternative students on Wednesday, May 23.

Five outside school environment days (OS)-June 1, 4, 5, 6 and 7- were set aside as snow days. A sixth OS day on Monday, February 19 for President’s Day could also be first used as a snow day and then spring break days considered next if the school system had to make up snow days past June 15, Bell said.

The calendar committee did not want the school year to go too late in June, she noted. Superintendent David Banks said it was also a concern of the governor’s and for tourism. Schools could make up additional snow days through June 29 to meet their required 180 days of instruction.

Calendar may need changed

Superintendent David Banks noted that the school calendar may need amended based on any calendar changes made by the West Virginia State Legislature. Bell said that the deadline for school districts submitting their 2017-2018 calendar was still May 5 despite school calendar unknowns due to House Bill 2711. The bill was still on the governor’s desk at the time of the April 25 calendar adoption.

House Bill 2711, which was signed by Governor Jim Justice on April 26, gives school boards the option of increasing the instructional school day by at least 30 minutes to make up for days of school closures or to use for activities to improve instruction. West Virginia schools are currently permitted to only use accrued instructional time to make up for early dismissals or two-hour delays.

Superintendent Banks said at the meeting that six minutes were added to the instructional school day several years ago and that the school day was already pretty long for outlying schools like Pleasant View Elementary and Paw Paw Schools. He noted the need for more professional development time was greater than the need for additional snow days.

The bill also specifies that delivery of approved alternative instruction on up to five days of school closure due to weather or emergencies could be counted toward the required 180 instructional days despite school closures.

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