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School board to vote on 2019-2020 school calendar Monday

By Rebecca Rider
For the Salisbury Post

SALISBURY — The Rowan Salisbury Board of Education will consider adopting a new calendar for the 2019-2020 school year at its Monday meeting.

The proposed calendar is the end result of multiple staff surveys, and breaks away from a traditional school calendar. More than 7,400 people took the survey, which gave a choice between two proposed calendars. Those surveyed included parents, teachers, students and community members.

More than 50 percent of responders said they preferred Calendar A, which has teachers beginning school on Aug. 1, with an optional teacher workday. Students would begin school on Wednesday, Aug. 7. The earlier start date not only allows for schools to close early — by May 21, 2020, just before Memorial Day weekend — it also allows high schools to wrap up the first semester, and therefore testing, before winter break.

The calendar also has several smaller breaks for students throughout the year. Those days would be teacher workdays for staff, allowing them to have time for training, planning or professional development. One of those days is Tuesday, Nov. 5, to allow schools to be used as polling places.

Students would receive a full two weeks off for winter break, and a full week off in spring.

Both teachers and parents preferred this calendar.

But students surveyed said they preferred the other option, which has students going back to school Aug. 1. Under this calendar, teachers would be required to begin the year on July 25. The calendar also has required professional development days, and teacher work days are spread out less evenly. But this option also includes days where schools are closed for students and staff, which would mean that teachers won’t have to use annual leave days for some breaks. The last day of school for students would be Friday, May 22, 2020.

A total of 44 percent of those surveyed preferred this option.

District staff will recommend that the board approve a calendar at Monday’s meeting, but the board’s online agenda did not specify which calendar would be recommended.

The board will also consider:

A dual immersion, global studies program at Isenberg Elementary.

Approving the search for a lead teacher at Knox Middle School as part of the school’s renewal plan.

The board will meet at 4 p.m. Monday at in the Wallace Educational Forum board room, 500 N. Main St. The meeting begins with closed session. Celebrations will be held at 5 p.m., and public comment at 6 p.m.

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