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Superintendent: Spring break is safe, changes coming for next year’s schedule

Rowan County students and parents can breathe a sigh of relief – spring break is safe.

The Rowan-Salisbury School System announced its makeup schedule for days missed due to inclement weather Monday.

Students missed seven instructional days between Feb. 17 and 27. Two of those days will be made up on March 26 and 27, which were initially designated as teacher workdays and possible snow makeup days. The remaining five days will be waived.

In North Carolina, public school systems are required to provide at least 185 days or 1,025 hours of academic instruction to students each year between the Monday closest to Aug. 26 and the Friday closest to June 11. Rowan-Salisbury bases its academic year off hours rather than days.

When calculating the total number of instructional hours a school district has, the number must be based on the individual school with the fewest hours. Instructional hours do not include pep rallies, bathroom breaks or lunches.

Superintendent Dr. Lynn Moody said she and her staff have spent the past two weeks collecting data from each school to determine exactly how many instructional hours they’ve achieved so far and how much extra time they have to work with.

Last spring, the school board voted to add 10 minutes to the end of each school day for added instructional time and to increase flexibility when dealing with snow days.

A lot of the confusion in the district, Moody said, is that schedules vary from school to school. “Right now, they’re all over the place.”

Because of the inconsistent schedules, it was hard to tell just how may hours the schools have.

“We’re going to get that consistent for next year,” she said, adding that she hopes to have all of each grade level on the same schedule. Elementary schools might have to be split into two groups to accommodate bus schedules.

Moody said eight to 10 schools “don’t have quite enough hours” to waive the days, but they will be tightening up their schedules between now and the end of the year to make up for the needed time.

She said they’ll do that by rearranging schedules, moving bathroom breaks to coincide with other transitions or slightly shortening lunch periods.

“I chose to do that for a number of reasons,” she said, adding that Saturdays and spring break days are poor instructional days.

“You have a low attendance,” Moody said. “Kids don’t particularly want to be in school that day.”

Families typically have prior plans for those days as well.

Using the last three days of the school year were also an option, but Moody said that at that point in time, testing has already been completed and teachers are focused on getting grades turned in.

“I really value instructional time,” she said, adding that she would “love to not waive a single minute.”

She’s asking teachers to have a “sense of urgency to use every minute of that time for instruction” in the remaining months of the school year.

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