School calendar approved

Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer

After reviewing survey results and holding two public meetings, the Pocahontas County Board of Education has approved the 2016-2017 school calendar.

At the public meetings, held March 14 at Hillsboro Elementary School and March 28 at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, superintendent Terrence Beam and director of special education/student services/transportation/tech Coordinator Ruth Bland explained the process of creating the calendar, as well as results from the county-wide survey.

The survey was on the Pocahontas County Schools website and enabled parents, students, school employees and community members to anonymously share opinions on the calendar.

“There were several comments,” Beam said. “We really liked the comments. Just simply answering ‘yes’ or ‘no’ doesn’t really tell us anything. We like to get the comments back.”

Approximately 300 individuals took the survey and left comments. The majority of the comments were in response to the change in Thanksgiving break – in the 2015-2016 calendar, Thanksgiving break was Thursday and Friday instead of an entire week.

“I would prefer that all or most of Thanksgiving week be off and have the school year start slightly earlier to compensate,” one individual wrote.

“In my opinion, it was a waste of time and money to have school those first two days of Thanksgiving week this year, 2015-2016,” another wrote. “I believe there were something like seven buses that did not run due to no drivers. And only sixty or so kids in the high school the first day and less than that the second day. Leave Thanksgiving break as it has been for years – the whole week off.”

Some comments stated it was a good idea to shorten Thanksgiving break, adding that Christmas should stay in tact, and Spring Break be cut down.

Others approved of the use of snow routes and three-hour delays to keep the number of snow days to a minimum.

The finalized calendar is as follows:

Teachers work August 10 through 12, with the first day for students on August 15. OS Days – Outside School Environment Days – are October 17, March 13, May 22, June 1, 2 and 5.

Holidays are September 5, November 11, November 24, December 26, January 2, January 16 and May 29. School will also be closed on Election Day, November 8.

Thanksgiving break will be November 21 through 25. Winter break will be December 23 through January 2. Spring break is April 14 through 21.

The last day of school is May 30 if there are no snow days. School may go to June 30, depending on the number of snow days taken during the year. If school does go into mid-June, West Virginia Day, June 20 will be taken as a holiday.

The calendar is designed to provide 180 days of instructional days for students and 200 days of employment for teachers and personnel.

Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at sastewart@pocahontastimes.com

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