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School calendar changes

December 18, 2002|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY - The Washington County Board of Education decided Tuesday to rework the January school calendar to fit in more class time before the end of a restructured marking period.

The Washington County Board of Education voted 6-0 to hold classes on two days on which, under the original schedule, classes would not have been held. The School Board then decided to move the end of the marking period back one week so students would have more instruction before grades were turned in.

Those days off will be shifted to late January, and will not count as make-up days for time lost because of bad weather.

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Deputy Superintendent for Instruction Patricia Abernethy said because of the four snow days used so far this year, elementary school students lost math class-time and secondary school students lost preparatory time for the next set of High School Assessments, which will be given the week of Jan. 13 -17.

Under the schedule change, Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 20, will remain a holiday. But classes will be held on Jan. 21 and 22, which had been scheduled as professional days for teachers with no classes for students.

Under the amended schedule, the professional days have been shifted and all students will be off on Jan. 27. Middle and high school students will be off on Jan. 28.

The third marking period for secondary students and the second marking period for elementary students were set to end on Jan. 17, but under the new schedule will end Jan. 24.

The School Board plans to reconsider the school calendar in January.

Due to the four snow days already used students will remain in school until June 11, a day before graduations are scheduled, said Director of Elementary Education JoEtta Palkovitz-Brown. The current schedule does not account for any future snow days, she said.

The last day of classes tentatively had been scheduled for June 5, with five makeup days from June 6 through June 12 built into the schedule, if needed.

Abernethy said that in the future, the school system should consider making the first semester longer than the second semester to compensate for the possibility of bad weather in December.

"We had unexpected days off in December, which was not custom for us for awhile," she said.

Abernethy said in the board's work session that making up snow days past graduation or negotiating with the Maryland Board of Education to keep schools from having to make up snow days would both be possibilities if bad weather continues through the rest of winter.

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