Clark County Board of Education members want a slightly different 2021-2022 school year calendar than the one favored by a committee and presented to the board Tuesday night by Christy Bush, director of pupil personnel and student support services.
The board was presented three options and was told the committee preferred the second one, which would have made Aug. 11 the first day of classes for students and their last day May 19. But board member William Taulbee suggested modifying the first option by one day on each end of the calendar, with students beginning classes on Aug. 18 and ending May 25. Teachers would start a day earlier than students and end a day later.
The board voted 5-0 on a motion by Sherry Richardson, seconded by Brenda Considine, to approve the calendar on first reading and send it back to the calendar committee for consideration before the second reading and final decision.
Superintendent Paul Christy said he liked the idea of students starting later next year because of summer school.
“I think there needs to be a few days between the end of school and the start of summer school. You got to let staff and kids unwind for two or three days at least. If you don’t, it can impact the number of students and staff who want to participate in summer school,” he said.
Board members agreed with the later start dates.
Under the new calendar, there will be 176 instruction days, and 10 days of non-traditional instruction are allotted, which is the number that was allowed before the coronavirus pandemic led the Department of Education to allow unlimited NTI days this year.
Clark County didn’t participate in NTI until this year, but this year all 170 school districts have NTI, Christy said.
Under the calendar, fall break would be Oct. 22-25, winter break would be Dec. 20-Jan. 3, and spring break would be April 4-8. Holidays would be the same as with the other options.
During the board meeting, Greg Hollon, chief academic officer, said the school district is planning to have summer school in 2021 at every elementary school, the intermediate school, and the junior high and high schools.
“We know there’s going to be a need for summer school this year and at a different level than it’s ever been,” he said.
Many more students are going to need remedial help and tutoring because of the disruption of the coronavirus pandemic and virtual instruction, he explained.
“This is a different learning environment, and we know that it’s challenging,” he said.
What educators are seeing in Clark County, as well as in Kentucky and the nation, he said, is that some students who have struggled academically in the traditional method of instruction are doing well with distance learning, and others who have done well in years past in the classroom setting are struggling with virtual instruction.
Hollon said the district wants to make sure those students get the help they need to catch up before the start of the new school year.
Also during the meeting, Hollon mentioned that ACT tests would be March 8-12. The tests will actually be March 9, 10 and 11. March 8 will be used to train more testing proctors, and March 12 will be a catch-up day. Because of COVID and the need to spread students out, he explained, there will need more staff to help.
Christy said during that week, instead of the usual A-B hybrid schedule, only sophomore and juniors — who will be taking the ACT tests — will be in the building at George Rogers Clark, and freshmen and seniors would have virtual instruction from home.
About Randy Patrick
Randy Patrick is a reporter for Bluegrass Newsmedia, which includes The Jessamine Journal. He may be reached at 859-759-0015 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.