As the number of cancelled school days piled up last week just like the snow and ice, Sampson County School officials grappled with how to best revise the school calendar in order to accommodate the needed make-up days.
After considering numerous options, superintendent Dr. Eric Bracy and Susan Warren, public relations and Student Services coordinator, presented a recommended plan for the make-up days to the county school board during its work session Tuesday morning.
“We’ve lost eight student days this year,” Bracy pointed out, noting that according to the 2012 Senate Bill 187 (Session Law 2012-145), which took effect beginning with the 2013-14 school year and rewrote a portion of the calendar law (General Statute 115C-84.2), the school year must cover at least nine calendar months and the school calendar must be comprised of at least 185 days or 1,025 hours of instruction.
One of the needed days of instruction was made up Monday, Feb. 17, President’s Day. The future dates that county school officials recommended were March 21, April 18, May 31, June 9, and June 10. Per this recommendation, students would attend school on one Saturday, May 31, and would still be out of school for Memorial Day, Monday, May 26.
The make-up days proposed for June 9 and 10 will, if approved by the county school board, fall after graduation, which is still set for June 5 and 6.
School board members questioned adding two days of instruction onto the end of the school year but acknowledged that, though it may not be ideal, it may be the best way to make the necessary accommodations.
According to Tommy Macon, assistant superintendent for Academics and Student Services, graduating seniors could complete their exams early so graduation would not have to be moved and so that students would not have to return to school following graduation.
One of the two remaining missed school days can be forgiven, noted Bracy, due to the system having enough instructional hours banked to still meet the legislation’s requirement. The date of the final make up day is yet to be determined with school officials wanting to wait to hear from the governor about the possibility of more inclement weather days being forgiven.
Bracy shared that he anticipated hearing news from the governor on the matter sometime this week, and stressed that depending on the governor’s decision, the school officials’ recommendation could change.
“This may be adjusted by the time we meet on Monday,” he warned, adding that with the current recommendation, school officials have tried “to protect the integrity” of both the school days as well as the system’s spring break since families often have vacations planned for that week in April.
“We will pray that the governor forgives some of the days,” said school board vice chairwoman Faye Gay, filling in for chairman Telfair Simpson who was absent due to sickness. “We’ll take any number (of days).”
The county school board will vote on the make-up days recommendation, which was placed on the consent agenda, Monday night, Feb. 24 during the regular board meeting to be held at Union High School at 7 p.m.
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.