CHARLESTON, W.Va. — All across the state, teachers are heading back to school preparing for the start of class. This year, it’s extra early in many counties. After last year’s bad weather, plus the water crisis in nine counties, educators are determined to meet the required days of classroom instruction.

Chuck Heinlein, State Superintendent of Schools, a guest on Thursday’s MetroNews Talkline, said this gives students and teachers an advantage they wouldn’t have with later start dates.

“Their early start enables them to assure they’ll have the opportunity to stay with their scheduled calendar as they have submitted to the state superintendent and has been approved,” stressed Heinlein.

Wanye and Braxton County school were the first to start class on Tuesday. Cabell County was back in session on Wednesday. Kanawha County students return on Monday, August 11.

It’s been a race to the finish line for the educators at the new Edgewood Elementary School in Kanawha County. They will be prepared for class on Monday, according to Assistant Principal Janet Scott.

“Oh, we are ready. We will definitely be ready. The teachers have been working long hours,” she said.

Since it’s a brand new school, classrooms need organized, bulletin boards decorated and lesson plans finished. Scott stressed it will be a very unique learning opportunity for the students.

“It’s going to be a blended learning curriculum is what we’re doing. They blend textbooks. We have the technology with it as well and student hands-on activities,” explained Scott.

Not all schools are taking advantage of the early start option. Brooke County isn’t back in session until August 25. Lincoln and Marion Counties begin classes on August 21.

No matter what the start date, Heinlein said the same is expected from every county.

“It is required that every county schedule 180-days of instruction and make every effort throughout the school year to incorporate 180-days of instruction between the beginning of their school and if necessary extending their school year through June 30,” according to Heinlein.

If all goes according to plan, Cabell County’s last day of school will be May 20. But a system starting later, like Lincoln County, won’t finish up until June 11.

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  • Teach

    Miner - I have always supported miners because my father was and other family members are miners! I continue to support coal! My fight is with the wv state dept. of education wanting to take our summers from us! I work hard everyday! I went into this profession because it was what I wanted to do and it would also be a great schedule for my kids, farming, raising a garden, etc., now they are trying to take that from us and the kids! Teachers and students get jobs in the summer! For about 3/4 of teachers state wide it was like we were promised never to have to work the grave yard shift! Just like COAL, education is run by politics!

  • Teach

    I totally agree with taking spring break if we have that many snow days! Most counties have already put into place at the beginning of each month BOE will pull days from breaks! Christmas included! I agree! Many teachers and students work in the summer and attend camps of all sorts! Some counties don't have a problem protecting their summer because they told their employees up front that days would be pulled from scheduled breaks! Counties should have school everyday and if a certain bus can't make their run, just announce bus # will not be running today!!!

  • Teach

    The county in which I reside does not adequately treat the roads and does not start treating the roads until conditions are extremely bad! I think it is due to lack of supervision when surrounding counties have more secondary routes than we do!

    I think Hoppy should have the DOH on his show and discuss strategies for treating the roads this year so we can go to school.
    Instead of strategies to make 180 days, let's hear some strategies from the DOH for keeping our roads clear in the 21st century!

  • Teach

    Thank you bookman! You wouldn't believe the dedication of teachers to their profession that I am associated with! We put our heart and soul into it and it breaks my heart to hear all the negative comments toward education!

    • The bookman

      Having an open discussion means asking and listening to questions that may be uncomfortable. Aaron asks great questions. Don't assume those questions indicate a disdain for educators, or education. There are certainly those who post thoughtless comments about the teaching profession, as though the vast majority of teachers can be defined by the worst teacher we have experienced. Aaron, although we sometimes vehemently disagree, is usually thoughtful and provocative. Good luck to you in the coming year, and let's pray for weekend snow.

  • Teach

    Yes, teachers r paid for 200 days Aaron and teachers get 1 day to get room ready and we r talking everything in the hall because floors are waxed. Teachers must also organize room, write lesson plans, and have everything (paperwork) ready to go. Don't forget about bus lists and having materials ready. The other days are spent in meetings! There is No way to be ready for school in one day! Sometimes the professional development is good and sometimes it's not, but quess what Teachers don't get an option!

    Come and walk a day in a teacher's shoes then let's see your comments. The school system can always use an extra pair of hands!

    • Aaron

      I've been a homeroom parent, Junior achievement volunteer, PTO board member, County volunteer for various committees and fundraisers, and overall supported teachers for 20 years while my children went through school. I love teachers and like Bookman said, agree mostdo a tremendous professional job.

      I believe teachers have one of the hardest jobs in our society, they're most certainly underappreciated and probably underpaid, and face an uphill battle daily, particularly elementary school teachers who should be paid above and beyond all others.

      I just wonder about some of the things some teachers and their supporters say. When I see something out of line, I question it. That's all.

    • Gilbert Gnarley

      Teach, as a casual visitor to this site Aaron seems to have knowledge about everything and doesn't mind sharing.

      Often wonder why he seems to have the time to share it with everyone.

    • Miner

      Come work in the mines with me. I may not have a job next year so better do it soon. I just wait to hear the teachers complain about pay. I did not go to college started in the mines at 23, i knew the dangers and I pretty much knew the pay. Teachers go to college spend 4 years to go in debt and then bitch about the pay, do the colleges tell the teachers they will make more money than they actually will make? Just do the job.

    • The bookman

      I would concur that most teachers go above and beyond over the summer in prepping for the new school year. Most are exceptional people who give of their own time for the improvement of kids. Taking that ownership of their success is what constitutes professional positions and strictly wage hour employees.

  • Teach

    Old teach must correct a typo/spelling! Teachers put in more UNPAID days than people realize! Mr. Mattox must do his job and have the DOH do their job!

  • Teach

    Counties starting later can finish by May also if the DOH does their job! No excuses! We live in the mountain state! We get SNOW! Clean the roads!

    They didn't talk about all the unpayed days that teachers spend in their classrooms and schools getting them ready. We are not like other businesses where you just walk in and things are ready to go.

    • The bookman

      The DOH treats the roads, and in my neck of the woods, the high mountains outside of Elkins, they do a tremendous job given the conditions. So much of the decision to call school delays and cancellations are the timing of the storms. Last year we endured many early morning storms that played havoc with the commute to school. School systems don't want to delay or cancel, and teachers don't either. I think policies regarding school cancellation won't significantly change until we develop a little more backbone about consistent time in the seat. Spreading out 180 days across 48 weeks isn't in anyone's interest, but when school systems refuse to utilize available days for making up instructional days, like IS Days and Spring Break, what do you expect? Snow days are a fact of life. Busses need to put chains on like they did in the old days. Regional closure and cancellation of specific bus routes need to be utilized. And let us recognize their isn't a conspiracy to miss school due to inclement weather, or to make teachers and staff responsible for bad weather.

    • Aaron

      Aren't teachers paid on a 200 day contract?

      • Veteran Teacher

        There's something you don't know?

  • Chris1529

    IMO, there are three major factors involved causing the students to not receive 180 days instruction under the previous calendars. These factors are all related.
    First, the number of school consolidations has made travel to the schools too far in many areas. This leads to the second factor which causes the schools to close too often when there is inclement weather (snow days). If the schools were closer to where people live and bus trips were shorter or parents could more easily get their kids to school, they would not miss nearly as much school in the winter.
    That leads to the third factor which is the school districts. The state desperately needs to move away from the county based school districts to school districts based upon population areas. There are areas of the state where the county system may be ok, but there are many more areas in which the district lines need to be draawn based upon the population. This will result in less travel to schools as well and less snow days.
    With those changes, we could get back to a more reasonable start and finish date for students. We could also then have summer sessions for the students who need extra instruction, or for high shool age students who want to get ahead.

  • TMW

    180 days is bunk. In Md. we get around it with 1/2 days. If the kids get lunch, then the state/feds count it as a day. Here's what we do in elem. We start lunch at 9:30 so everyone can get fed by 11:15. (Most schools have around 1000 kids) Then we dismiss. Classroom teachers hold the kids in and everyone else goes to the cafeteria to make sure kids eat within 15 minute shifts. And there is a whole day of instruction. Don't forget the 2 hour delays when lunches start within 15 minutes of arrival. And....I would venture, I have to look at the schedule, we tested, practice tested, or test prepped 20 + days, and...still did not meet standards. This year I'm writing a daily journal of all the silliness in education (administration, O'bama private interest schemes {computer programs, after school wastetoid time} etc. Schools here start 18th.

  • Monty Burns

    And how are you an expert on this? Counties are starting early because of the bad winter, period. Aaron, you seem to have an opinion on everything. Get a life man!

    • Aaron

      That's all well and good but am I wrong Disco Stu?

  • Curmudgeon

    Typo - Wanye County? Should be Wayne.

  • Aaron

    The early start date is not what guarantees 180 days instructions, the 48 week calendar versus the previous 43 week calendar is what guarantees completion if 180 instructional days.

    • mntr bob

      Aaron, there is no guarantee that whenver they start that they will get in 180 days due to the June 30 dismissal, it only gives them a much better chance.