Wyoming County students will begin classes this year on Aug. 13, based on the calendar selected by school employees. Employees will begin Aug. 10, according to the calendar.

The last scheduled day for students is June 6 – if there are no days lost to inclement weather.

School personnel had three calendars from which to choose, according to Frank Blackwell, county schools superintendent.

They overwhelmingly chose calendar 1 with a vote of 428, Blackwell said.

Calendar 2, the “balanced,” or year-round, calendar received only 44 votes; students would have returned to class July 13 with this option.

The third calendar option drew 49 votes and students would have began Aug. 6.

• • •

With the calendar option chosen by personnel, students and staff will get a week for Thanksgiving, Nov. 23-27; two weeks for Christmas, Dec. 21-Jan. 1, as well as a week-long spring break, March 28-April 1.

Excluding Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Years Day – any or all of the days in the extended holiday breaks may be used to make up inclement weather days, the superintendent said.

Additionally, March 17 and 18, April 15, 28 and 29, along with May 9 are designated as “out of school environment” days – any or all of which may also be used to make up snow days, according to Blackwell.

Holidays will also include Sept. 7 for Labor Day; Nov. 11, Veterans Day; Jan. 18, Martin Luther King Day; and May 30 for Memorial Day.

• • •

Personnel also opted, with a vote of 378, to use early dismissals next year for faculty senate meetings as opposed to the two-hour delays used this year.

Blackwell said, for the most part, employees thought the early dismissal would be less disruptive.

• • •

This year, students will have to attend class until June 24 in order to make up the 14 days lost to snow and dangerously frigid weather conditions. Employees will work until June 26.

Based on current state law, snow days have to be made up day-for-day.

Blackwell believes there is such statewide opposition to the law that legislators will change it during the next regular session.

“We should be able to use some of the accumulated time we have, but they won’t let us do that.”

Every school in Wyoming County banks a minimum of 15 minutes per day, Blackwell said, minutes that go beyond the daily mandated time in the classroom.

“Some of our schools bank as much as 30 minutes a day – depending on their schedules,” Blackwell noted. “Of course, the high schools have to attend the longest amount of time during the day; so, they accumulate the least amount of extra minutes.”

Blackwell said the bank time, or accumulated time, can be used to make up time for faculty senate meetings, planned or unplanned two-hour delays, or early dismissals.

Wyoming County Schools would have had 5 days of accumulated time that could have been used as make up days – had state officials allowed it, Blackwell said.

The West Virginia Board of Education, however, rejected all requests from county school systems across the state for such waivers.

“There should be some common sense here. Companies work employees four days a week for 10-hour shifts, getting their 40 hours completed. It’s done all the time. Then, they get three days off – Friday, Saturday, Sunday. It works just fine for these companies. They get the work done; it’s still 40 hours.

“What’s wrong with the schools using some of that accumulated time to make up at least some of these days?”

• • •

The extended time in the classroom is also one of the reasons free summer school, known as “Summer Credit Recovery,” has been canceled for the first time in nearly a decade.

There are several reasons for the decision, Blackwell said.

Federal funds that provide some support for such programs have been reduced, he said.

Also, tax revenue in the county has decreased substantially due to the slumping coal market and other factors.

“With our current calendar situation, it would be difficult to have summer school,” Blackwell said.

Traditionally, summer school has begun about July 1 in the county and provided students with the opportunity to earn credit for a core subject they had failed or to catch up in a subject in which they were trailing classmates.

Officials are currently providing an “after-school activity bus” that transports students home each Tuesday and Thursday from any after-school program, including tutoring, that will help students earn any needed credit.

Trending Video

This Week's Circulars

Recommended for you