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Last day of school pushed to June 11

April 02, 2003|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

The Washington County Board of Education voted 6-0 Tuesday to extend the school year from June 6 to June 11 after the state school board sent back for more work its earlier make-up plan for days missed because of snow.

Washington County Public Schools Deputy Superintendent Patricia Abernethy said the Maryland Board of Education sent back the county's snow make-up plan because it wanted the school system to focus on making up school days instead of making up hours of instruction.

Maryland school systems are required to have 180 days of instruction during a school year, and Washington County has lost 12 days to inclement weather.

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The school system's original plan for making up the missed time added 30 minutes to each school day and scheduled the last day of school for June 6.

The school system today will send a revised plan to the state board that calls for extending the school year to June 11. Abernethy said the plan calls for classes to be dismissed 2 1/2 hours early on June 9, 10 and 11.

Students will continue to attend school an extra 30 minutes each day in an effort to keep to a minimum the number of full days the students will have to make up, she said.

The school system's calendar established at the beginning of the school year set the last day of classes at June 5, with provisions to add six days of classes - through June 13 - if necessary to make up for days missed because of snow.

In its revised plan, the School Board is asking the state board to waive previously scheduled make up days of June 12 and 13 because county students are making up some of the missed time through the extra half-hour.

She said she hopes to have the state board's decision by the end of the week.

"It appears they are willing to consider this," she said.

It was Abernethy who recommended the school system make up the time by extending each school day instead of adding days. She had said not doing so would mean students would be in class through June 20.

"In hindsight my recommendation shouldn't have been given until I had the (state) board's decision," she said.

The new plan will include the original plan's other recommendations of holding class on March 28 and April 17 with a 2 1/2 hour early dismissal. Those days were previously scheduled as days off.

The School Board is requesting that the state school board not require days missed on Feb. 18 and 19 to be made up because snowfall then was so heavy that a state of emergency was declared in Maryland.

Abernethy said the 2 1/2 hour early dismissals for June 9, 10 and 11 were scheduled out of concern that families may have planned to spend extra time with their children after June 6.

School Board President Bernadette M. Wagner said teachers were counting on June 6 through June 13 for staff development.

Abernethy said teachers will have the time after early dismissal for staff development. Teachers' last day would remain June 13 under the revised plan, she said.

Graduation, scheduled for most county high schools on June 13, will not be affected, she said.

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