HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The first bell of the school year is just a few days away for Cabell and Wayne county students. Class gets started on Thursday. In Kanawha County, it begins on Friday.
“It’s so we can complete the first semester prior to the Christmas break, so that students don’t have to come back and prepare for finals when they’ve been out of school for three weeks,” explained Smith.
So far there’s not enough data to officially determine if the early start/early out semester is helping kids grade-wise but Smith said its something his staff is keeping an eye on.
“We haven’t been doing it long enough to know if there’s a correlation between the two. I doubt there is. Research doesn’t really bare that out except our grades are better in the high schools because the finals are closer to the time the students are in instruction,” according to Smith.
A majority of the state’s 55 counties will be starting back to class on August 15 or August 22, both Thursdays. In fact, the 22nd is the latest start date for any county.
The mountain counties have taken full advantage of the early start to make sure they get in 180 days of instruction, as required, by the state. In places where snow days can add up quickly the extra time on the calendar gives school systems several weeks of banked time in case of inclement weather.
Despite some problems with a new air conditioning system at Salt Rock Elementary all schools are a go for Thursday. Smith said they’re preparing for at least the same amount of students who attended last school year.
“We hit a peak of about 13-thousand last year. But Our Pre-K program is exploding right now, so we don’t know how many more we’ll have come in,” said Smith.
Even though Cabell County is the first to start class they won’t be the first ones out come summer break. In fact, one county will beat them by two weeks.
Kanawha County schools have the earliest out on May 16, followed by Mineral County on May 23 and Wayne County on May 28. Cabell County schools let out for the summer of 2014 on May 29.