CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A vote is expected to come next month from the state Board of Education on a school calendar policy that would give county school boards more flexibility .

That policy, which was first proposed last month, would require county school systems to provide at least 180 days of instruction for students each school year, no matter the weather.

State Superintendent Jim Phares adds the policy does not require year-round school, but rather encourages school systems “to drop down those learning gap times where the loss of learning takes place.”

The changes to the school calendar are part of the education reform law and will replace the current policy which Phares argues restricted county officials in many ways when scheduling school years.

He said this new policy gives those officials more flexibility to meet the 180 days mark.  “I believe it gives each individual county the unique opportunity to develop a calendar that’s best suited for their county,” said Phares.

With it, each county school system would also have to come up with a plan, with the personalized calendar, to compensate for inclement weather.

“The core principal is there,” Phares said. “We want them to be in school for 180 days and we want the counties to be able to determine when those 180 days will be based on that county’s needs.”

With the proposed policy, county school boards would also have to hold at least two public hearings before voting on a schedule. Phares said this is another important piece to the policy.

“The board still has the sole authority to approve the county calendar, but I still believe that this is a powerful, not policy driven initiative, that actually allows engagement of the citizens,” he adds.

Phares explains that it makes sense to have the public involved because they are usually the first people school officials hear from when school is closed or not closed.

The state Board of Education is currently in the process of considering feedback received during a 30 day comment period on the proposal.

Board members are expected to vote on the policy at their next meeting in December, so the change could go into effect for the 2014-15 school year.

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Comments

  • Cheyenne

    I think thier should be ISE day do not cut the breaks that is only time some gets to see family. Also our summer break should not be cut either that is our time to get a break from school just ur vacations so yea this what I think and that is y we do not 189 days of school

  • lisa hoke

    I think all the IS days should be done away with and if they want them to go 180 days instead of taking there Summer away they should cut back on some of the days they get out for breaks like not so many days out for Thanksgiving, Christmas and spring break because we all know the bad weather in the winter time is not going anywhere.

  • Michael Adkins

    The education system seems to be getting more ridiculous. I agree that IS days and early release days should be done away with, they hinder the education process instead of helping. There were no such days when I went to school and we had more severe winters and never had to make up days like they do now. The last day of school was usually May 31st so why can't this be accomplished now? Trying to follow this proposal seems to leave out the fact that families plan vacations and various camps make their plans after the last day of school. This new plan that says schools could go until June 30 is ridiculous.

  • CHRISTY

    I would love to see IS days be gone. They are a joke. Also early release days. Why do we get a week off for thanksgiving? I don't think we need that either. Spring break should be make up says. If there's no make up days be off. Why do u make kids make up days at school at the end of the year when teachers takes up books and they just sit there watching movies or tv. That's not teaching. I as a parent would love to enjoy my summer. What happened to having the summer off. The children needs a break from school. I cannot plan family vacations or outing when we go to school in August. That's not fair but have all this time off in the winter for no reason. I would rather be out doors. Give us something fair give us are summers back. Give us something we all deserve.

  • WV Worker

    Why can't the state board of education show the public how many days every county attends school, say for the last 5 years. Start with that list and work our way into a 180 day calendar. Not all counties may have to start in July, but then their should be a by-law that clearly states that if no days are taken off then school ends early. 180 days is a 180 days no matter which way you look at it. Here is McDowell we get snow, floods and power outage that causes schools to be closed, then you have the IS days and OS days that probably could be cut down. Personally IS days are a joke, because the teachers forget to tell the parents they can come and ask questions about their child or children progress. Instead, they have dinners and enjoy a day of no students. Teachers don't get you panties in a wad, I know and have seem this on IS days and don't scream we are doing daily plans and check children papers. Please we know you work hard but you know that's what goes on. OS days usually have speakers or training going on so they are truly days of instruction. Honestly how many parents come to the schools to check progress on IS days? Let have those numbers listed per county also. Should be interesting to see those numbers. I have a question if the school opens at the regular time and dismisses for any reason past 31/2 to 4 hours isn't that counted as a whole day? So kids going to ball games or other activities have gone the required time. Right or wrong? As for dress code their should be a standard for teachers and principals. They are professionals you don't have to wear suits or ties and shirts and jackets to look nice. A dress pair of pants and button up shirts are just as nice. The state workers can't wear jeans at all. If we do we get send home that has already gone to grievance and we lost. So don't go down that road. People coming into the schools need to be able to tell the difference in students and teachers. I have seen some teachers with flannel shirts open over t-shirts and old ragged jeans that looks .AWFUL. As least you can do is have so proud in how you look, if not for the public but yourself. You worked hard for that degree so look like it. Dress down day can be offered once a month if you really want to look tacky. It doesn't matter how you count or when you start school 180 days is 180 days. Start early end early. Remember you started teaching for the STUDENTS not for yourselves. You want to make a difference.
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    • WV commuter

      WV Worker,

      As a teacher: AMEN! Get rid of the IS days. Please!!! I wish some of my colleagues dressed better! I wear a shirt and tie every day. I did not spend a fortune - I shopped at Gabe's.

      What I would like is this: Time management from the teachers who take nothing home to grade, show up after starting time and leave before quitting time and are constantly gossiping - all on a regular basis. What am I doing wrong?

  • Aaron

    Nothing is going to change until the state board eliminates the 43 week restriction counties have to implement the 180 days of instruction. By allowing counties to start earlier in the year, all they are doing is forcing those same counties to end earlier and does nothing to extend the school year. Whether a county school years ends during the first week of June of the first week of May, they still face the same weather during the winter months.

  • Myron

    No calendar change should be prevented without ensuring proper incremental compensation for teachers.

    • Aaron

      Why? Teachers are still working the same 43 week calendar.

    • Barry Bledsoe

      Incremental compensation for teachers? For what? They are paid to teach 180 days, plus additional administrative days. Changing the calendar won't add to their work load. It only changes the schedule.

      And to the other comment, about letting teachers decide...Seriously? Since when do the employees get to tell the employer when they are going to work? I'm not sure where you worked, but I bet you didn't get to set your own schedule.

      Now, having said that, I DO believe that teachers should have some input. Obviously, they are a HUGE part of the equation. But so are students, parents, administrators etc.

      I am glad that there is a provision for public hearings on proposed schedules. For the past two years, Marion County has had a crazy schedule, which gives students and teachers every Friday off for about the last 8 weeks or so of the school year, if they have no snow days to make up. This is nuts! Why not just shorten the year by that many days? Finding daycare for an entire summer isn't too difficult. But try to find a babysitter for one day a week, for only 8 weeks! It isn't so easy!

      Ultimately, the schedule needs to be what is best for students. Everyone else comes second!

      • Myron

        So I guess then when my employer comes out with a dress code I'm just supposed to follow it? That's violating my rights as a professional. Also, how can a principal issue a directive that states teachers may not address the media directly?!

        • Aaron

          What rights as a professional? I guess I missed that one.

        • Wvtotx

          Hello??!!! In the corporate world there are strict dress codes at most companies, no media policies, employee code of conduct etc... I'm not sure what on Earth people think work should be like? Why is there such teacher opposition to every little thing?

  • Paula Ridder

    PRINCIPLE!!! "The core principle is there", Phares said. (Not principal)

    I hope this was an auto correct!

  • WV commuter

    I will support this when we no longer lose days due to talent shows, pep rallies, and fundraiser hyped up talks. So far this year the school where I teach has lost 1 1/2 DAYS due to these aforementioned items!

  • taxpayer

    Who's not getting 180 days? Each year, the school year is extended to make up for snow days.

    • mntnman

      UH, no its not. The fact is rarely do more than two or three counties get in 180 days. Most get in about 172-175.

  • Seriously

    Let the unions decide. They will no doubt fight what the county wants to do anyway. If the teachers don't like what the BOE wants, the Unions will step in.

  • Woodchuck

    If the State Board is going to make all the rules why don't they just set the calendar and they can hold the public hearings.

    • rog

      Good point, Woodchuck. Why not eliminate county boards of Education and let the State Department run the whole show? It would certainly save a lot of money on administrative overhead.

  • Myron

    Shouldn't teachers solely determine the calendar? They know what's best for the district, operation of the school and the students.

    • B. G. King

      NO That is why you don't get 180 days now.