Lenoir County Public Schools will convert two teacher workdays and a day originally scheduled for early dismissal of students into regular school days and delay the start of high school exams in order to recoup instructional time lost to snow and icy roads since Jan. 3.
In a plan announced to LCPS personnel Friday, Superintendent Brent Williams outlined the following changes for the 16 schools on the district’s traditional calendar:
- Monday, Jan. 22, and Tuesday, Jan. 23, originally scheduled as teacher workdays, will be regular days for students.
- Thursday, Feb. 22, originally designated as a half-day for students, will be a regular school day.
- Exams will begin at LCPS’s traditional high schools on Monday, Jan. 22, instead of the originally scheduled start day of Jan. 12.
These calendar changes do not apply to Lenoir County Early College High School, which operates on a separate calendar aligned to that of its host, Lenoir Community College. Exams were administered there prior to the Christmas break.
Snow that fell Jan. 3 and a historic spell of record cold weather left many roads in the county impassable and forced schools in the county, as well as throughout the region, to close until this past Wednesday. LCPS needs to make up 4½ student days as well as an additional four days for teachers and other staff members.
Two of those student days will be covered by instructional hours built into calendar in excess of the 1,025 hours required by state law for a public school year. The calendar changes will cover the other 2½ days.
Williams conceded rules and restrictions governing public school calendars limited options for making up lost time, but saw the current plan – arrived at through consultation with principals and the district’s senior staff – as the most viable alternative.
“The plan manages to achieve all of the necessary goals for ensuring adequate instructional time and for recovering lost student days in an acceptable time frame that does not infringe on Easter break or holidays while still allowing additional ‘make-up’ days to be scheduled if additional inclement weather occurs later in the semester,” he said.
Delaying the start date for high school exams gives teachers and students time to review material covered during the first semester. The new schedule also allows a self-contained week of testing without the interruption of a weekend.
The later exam period pushes the end of the first semester back to Jan. 26. By rule, exams must be administered during the last five days of the semester. With the grading period extended, LCPS will also delay the release of report cards.
The revamped schedule also addresses the need for teachers and staff to recoup non-instructional hours built into their salaries – the teacher workdays and half-days often devoted to professional development sessions.
Saturday, Jan. 27, has been designated as a workday for teachers and staff and the district will provide a series of Saturday opportunities for teachers and staff to make up the other three days. It has also authorized principals to create additional make-up opportunities, including hours spent in extracurricular activities.