Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Area News

May 5, 2014

Public input sought on 2015-'16 school calendar

CROSSVILLE — Cumberland County Schools administrators are looking for input from the public on two possible calendars for the 2015-'16 school year.

Option one begins with teacher inservice on Aug. 3, with the first day of school set Aug. 5 with an early dismissal and the first full day Aug. 7.

A break of at least a three-day weekend is planned in each month of the school calendar, including Sept. 7 for Labor Day, fall break Oct. 12-16, Thanksgiving break Nov. 25-27; an early dismissal Dec. 18 and winter break Dec. 21-Jan. 1; Martin Luther King Day Jan. 18; staff development Feb. 12 and President's Day Feb. 15; spring break March 21-28; staff development April 15 and a day off April 18. School would end May 24, a Tuesday.

Option two begins keeps the same start and end dates and most of the holidays are also the same. The difference is the April break is April 15 and 18 and the day following spring break, March 28, is a staff development day. The staff development days are also moved to Sept. 4 and Jan. 4, which could mean they would be gone before the school system exhausted its banked snow days.

"The committee felt strongly about having a day early in the year for staff development," said Rebecca Wood, assistant director of curriculum, instruction and accountability. "That's when we need to adjust and refresh the things we are working on with that group of kids."

In both calendars, if more than 10 days were missed due to snow, staff development days would be used for school days first, followed by Martin Luther King and President's Day. The second spring break in April would be used next. If needed, the calendar states days would be added to the end of the school year.

Gordon Davis, 5th District representative, said, "What's wrong with extending the school year? You mess up a lot of people when you interfere with their plans on spring break."

Wood said neither option would use the March 21-25 spring break.

Director of Schools Donald Andrews said this past school year had presented a challenge, with the second semester of school shortened by about 13 days of instruction.

"The teachers and students are at an educational disadvantage because of not having quality class time," he said.

Josh Stone, 4th District representative, noted he had received several comments this year that were not in favor of extending the school year to make up missed days due to planned vacation.

"You run into unhappy folks both ways. My opinion is we need that time before assessments."

Stone moved to approve seeking public input on the two options. The motion was approved.

The board will consider the 2015-'16 school calendar at its meeting in May.

In other action, the board approved the first reading of policy changes to reflect changes in compulsory attendance ages and to include e-cigarettes in the tobacco-free schools policy as a prohibited substance.

The board also approved second and final reading of policy changes to establish a non-retaliation policy and amend cellular phone policy, transfers within the system policy and cyber-bullying policy.

Disposal of surplus property was approved at Crab Orchard Elementary, Homestead Elementary, Pleasant Hill Elementary and from the school nutrition program.

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