PARSONS, W.Va. – Tucker County Superintendent of Schools Ed Campbell said he’s pleased with the results of a change in the statewide school calendar.
Earlier this week, the West Virginia Board of Education voted in favor of extending the school year from 43 to 48 weeks a year to give counties time to fit in a full 180-days of classroom instruction.
During the 2012-2013 school year, Tucker County students missed 12 days of school due to inclement weather and had 18 two-hour days on top of that. Campbell said most years in Tucker County they’re fighting with the calendar because of the snow days that pile up.
“Whether it means that we start school a week or two weeks earlier than we normally do or now having the flexibility to add days at the end of the calendar to make up those days is going to be really important,” Campbell said Thursday on MetroNews Talkline.
This year Tucker County began classes on August 22 and they’re set to finish up the year on June 11, 2014. The third week of August was the most popular start date for school systems across the state this year. But some like Cabell and Kanawha counties started classes the first full week of August, two weeks earlier.
Campbell is not among those that think the calendar changes are a ploy to eventually force counties to go to year-round school.
“Having to say, ‘Kids need to go to school 180-days and if you miss a day you’ve got to make one up,’ I don’t think that’s a bad thing,” according to Campbell. “I think that’s what the flexibility is there for.”
But despite those words of support Campbell admitted there are some new regulations that won’t be easy to put into place.
“I think our biggest concern is the new requirement that we have to make up all of the two-hour delays or any early dismissals because of weather conditions.”
The superintendent has been talking with his staff about how they’ll make up that missed time. He said the easiest way is to use accrued instructional time built into the regular school day. Students attend class nine minutes more than required per day.
“But if you do the math on that for us we’d have to go to school about 20 days to make up two-hours,” he explained.
Campbell said he’d rather use that accrued time for professional development for teachers.
Regardless, Campbell is positive they’ll work it out and make sure students get in those required days and hours.