MADISON — If you want to give your input on next year’s Boone County Schools calendar you have until April 5, school officials announced on Tuesday, March 25, during its final public hearing on the matter at Scott High School in West Madison.
Three public meetings for Boone County ran in conjunction with the annual School Board Effectiveness meetings. Public hearings have taken place at Sherman Senior High School, at Van Senior High School and the final one at Scott High School on March 25.
“We want the public and BCS employees to have as much information as possible, and have the opportunity to have their questions answered and concerns heard,” said Boone County School Superintendent John Hudson. “The school system has provided samples of calendars and the Boone County School Calendar Committee will begin to have meetings following these public meetings.”
The survey, which has had over 740 participants so far, asks six questions:
1. Please let us know who is completing the survey.
2. Which date range projection do you prefer for the first and last day of classes for Boone County students for the 2014-2015 school year?
3. How important is it to you that Boone County Schools are closed for students the entire week of Thanksgiving 2014 (November 24 - 28, 2014)?
4. Which date do you prefer Boone County Schools 2014-2015 spring break coincide?
5. Instructional time lost due to inclement weather days, delays or early dismissal should be made up as: then it gives options to pick from.
6. How important is “TIME” for teachers to participate in professional development and training activities?
Boone County Schools Assistant Superintendent Dr. Lisa Beck presented two draft calendars and one of those must be submitted to the state Board of Education for approval by the end of April.
The calendar committee chairperson is Dr. Beck, and the committee will include representatives from all the professional associations, the service personnel association, the principals’ association, parent representatives, and the central office; with a student leader serving on the committee this year as well, according to Hudson.
“By conducting the public hearings, we are hoping for plenty of parent, student and community feedback,” said Hudson. “The position of Boone County Schools is that the calendar needs to be what is best for the students of Boone County.”
This year students have missed 23 instructional days due to weather and the water crisis.
“Next year, all of those days will have to be made up,” Hudson explained.
Hudson said that the last day for students for the 2013-2014 school year has been extended to Tuesday, June 10th.
“Also, the planned spring break during the week of April 21st will occur as originally scheduled,” Hudson added.
The school calendar for the 2014-2015 school must meet the new requirements set forth in Senate Bill 359, passed into law last spring.
“We are still looking at traditional type calendars and there is no mandate or requirement for year-round school,” said Hudson.
Hudson said the West Virginia State Department of Education recently conducted a workshop with superintendents to share policy changes in the 2014-2015 school calendar. Hudson and Beck attended the Southern Regional Workshop in Charleston to assure counties and superintendents are prepared to implement a calendar in line with the bill.
The new law mandates that students receive 180 instructional days in the classroom per school year.
“I want to clear a few misconceptions about the new calendar,” Hudson stated. “BCS will not be having year-round school. The bill does not require that.”
The Boone County schools calendar will remain, as much as possible, a traditional calendar, such as it has been in the past, according to Hudson.
“However, there will be several changes as mandated by code,” he explained. “All missed instructional days must be made up, including two-hour delays and early dismissals. The local boards must approve their calendar, and then submit it to the West Virginia Department of Education for approval.”
Hudson added that the calendar must consist of 200 days, of which 180 days must be direct instruction.
“Those days must be completed in a 48-week window, and with a traditional calendar, not starting prior to August 1 and ending by June 30,” Hudson said. “We want parents to understand that all non-instructional days will be utilized to ensure that there are 180 days of instruction, regardless of when the school year begins and ends.”
The public can still participate in the school system’s calendar survey by logging on to the school system’s website at www.boonecountyboe.org and clicking on the BOE Effectiveness Meetings-2014-2015 Calendar Development link, which takes you to https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/C3X5CQL