Happy February everyone! This year has started out with a bang.
Weather issues and water main break impact on our calendar
We were blessed recently with a wintry mix that coated our area with a beautiful layer of snow. With that weather, we were forced to miss one student day and that date will be made up on February 15th. We also recently missed a day due to a water main break in the city of Newton which inhibited our ability to run all of our school sites. That student day will not be made up.
Several people have asked why we don’t just forgive all missed days. A few years ago (2013-14), our school calendar was 185 days long. During that school year we had several days of inclement weather. We chose to not make up a couple of the days since we had more than enough hours banked based on the calendar law at the time.
After our 2013-14 calendar was established, the state came out with the following law:
EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2013
2012 Senate Bill 187 (Session Law 2012-145), applies beginning with the 2013-2014 school year, rewrites a portion of the calendar law (General Statute 115C-84.2). Legislation: Session Law 2012-145, Senate Bill 187, Section 7A.11.
School Calendars must meet the following requirements:
- Start date no earlier than the Monday closest to August 26 and end date no later than the Friday closest to June 11 (unless a weather related calendar waiver has been approved, year-round school, charter school or cooperative innovative high school.) If waiver is approved the start date can be no earlier than the Monday closest to August 19.
- There are no educational purpose waivers for exemption of the opening and/or closing dates.
- All schools within the district must be closed all day for purposes of determining eligibility for a weather related waiver (delayed starts or early dismissals of two or more hours no longer apply).
- Covers at least nine calendar months.
- Must have a minimum of 185 daysOR 1,025 hours of instruction.
- Must have at least nine (9) teacher workdays.
- Have a minimum of ten (10) annual vacation leave days.
- Have the same or an equivalent number of legal holidays occurring within the school calendar as those designated by the State Personnel Commission for State employees.
- School shall not be held on Sunday.
- Veterans Day shall be a holiday for all public school personnel and for all students enrolled in the public schools.
Last year and this year, our calendar has consisted of 180 student days. That equates to 5 less student days than in 2013-14, which means roughly 30-35 less instructional hours per school. Instructional hours cannot include recess, lunch, pep rallies, fundraiser presentations, assemblies, class changes, delayed start times/early dismissals, etc…
As you might imagine, I labor intensely over canceling schools. I do this because many of our students are home alone when we cancel school. Their parents or guardians still have to work many times. I also want to model what we all believe, that instructional time is important. Most importantly, I want to always err on the side of safety, without getting caught up in the hype when there are not safety concerns. I always communicate with emergency officials and our local governments who clear our streets. We are blessed to have two city municipalities who maintain our streets for us and this makes our roads less of an issue than some areas around us.
Should further inclement weather arise, I will do my best to keep you all informed of my thought process leading up to the event and beyond as I understand how it impacts all of you. Thanks for your patience, input, and understanding.
Thank you all
I want to say thank you to everyone in our district. We are a team and each person’s role is vital. I know I do not see all the many things that you each are responsible for that play essential roles in our success. I realize that so many of you build each other up and support one another as good teams do. I value the opportunity that I have to work with so many great people and I just want to say Thank You. I know that may not be a whole lot, but it is 100% heartfelt. I am proud to work in Newton-Conover with each of you.
Keep moving forward!