Trying to even out 1st semester and 2nd semester days
Start of School 2020-21 - D56 wants August 12 W-ACT SCORES AND ANTI-BULLYING EFFORT.
District 56 is going to ask the State Department of Education for permission to start the 2020-21 school year on August 12.
State law says school cannot start before the third Monday in August, unless a waiver is granted. If it’s not granted, next school year will end for teachers on Saturday, June 5, 2021. “I would be a real meanie to make teachers come in on a Saturday at the end of the year,” Superintendent Dr. David O’Shields told the Board of Trustees Monday night.
Also, if a waiver is not granted, next school year will have 83 days in the first semester and 97 days in the second semester, and exams would be conducted after Christmas. O’Shields said after-Christmas exams are alright in theory, but not in practice.
The original school calendar had classes starting on Aug. 17, a Monday – the first day allowed by state law. Teachers would be in their schools Aug. 11-14 prior to students arriving.
The District 56 board approved asking the state to grant an Aug. 12 – Wednesday - start date for students. First day for teachers would be Aug. 6. Board Chairman Jim Barton said he favors the administration’s request, as long as it does not move District 56 toward year-round school.
O’Shields said that would not happen “without serious, serious discussion.” He said he wants the two semesters each to have 90 days, but that is nearly impossible with breaks, holidays and in-service.
If the waiver is granted, everyone in the district would get a day off on Oct. 2, 2020 – a “breather,” as O’Shields put it. Oct. 15 and 16 would be days off for students, for parent-teacher conferences. O’Shields said District 55 will make the same request of the State Department of Education.
“Pickens and Oconee are doing it. McCormick has done it. Greenwood is considering it, although theirs is radically different,” O’Shields said.
Even though (without a waiver) second semester has 97 days, some instructional days are lost to mandated state assessments. If a waiver is granted, the last day for teachers in 2021 would be June 3 (a Thursday), “without snow days,” O’Shields said. The school board unanimously approved asking for the waiver on a 6-0 vote (board member Dr. Patsy Sadler was absent).
Also, the board agreed to ask District 55 to sign a MOA (memorandum of agreement) to share its alternative school with District 56. For every 15 students referred to the Laurens district’s alt. school, District 56 would pay a teacher’s salary. The board was told there rarely are more than 15 District 56 students needing this alternative placement.
The board heard a presentation from the Clinton High Concert Band prior to its meeting in the CHS auditorium. The band will perform Aug. 7 at Whitten Center. CHS Principal Dr. Martha Brothers outlined the activities outside the classroom designed to keep all students “connected” to the educational community. The board was advised on special event dates: Oct. 29 was fall festival at Joanna Woodson Elementary and trick or treat at Clinton Elementary; Nov. 12 will be a legislative dinner; Nov. 14 is the fall festival at Eastside Elementary; and the district’s Thanksgiving meal will be served Nov. 21. The new, electronic sign at Eastside Elementary School now is functional for community information, the board was told.