All Wake County schools will hold classes on Good Friday, a Saturday in April and a Saturday in May to make up for last week’s three snow days and to avoid cutting into spring break.
School administrators said that holding classes on April 3, the date of Good Friday, and two Saturdays – whose dates haven’t been set – will provide more instructional benefit for students than extending the school year, adding 20 minutes to each day or cutting into spring break. School board members reluctantly agreed with the staff’s recommendation.
“We have few options,” school board Chairwoman Christine Kushner said in an interview. “We are looking for the most instructionally effective way to make up the lost time. It’s the least disruptive.”
Wake has historically tried to avoid classes on Good Friday, which is a state holiday and one of the holiest days on the Christian calendar. But Cathy Moore, deputy superintendent for school performance, said using the day for all schools would reduce the number of Saturdays needed.
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Wake has historically only used Saturdays as makeup days for year-round schools, scheduling them as half days. But the new makeup plan will have all of the district’s students attending on Saturdays for what would be full days.
“There are no good options,” school board Vice Chairman Tom Benton said. “We’re trying to find the least bad options.”
Orange County and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school system both use Saturdays as makeup days, but those aren’t full days.
Wake County students have missed eight days of classes during the past two weeks. But Wake won’t have to make up one of those days, Feb. 24, because buses were rolling when classes were canceled.
Wake is making up the Feb. 17-20 snow days by forgiving three days and canceling two early release days in which students would have gone home 2-1/2 hours early. Wake is taking advantage of schedules that added up to more than the 1,025 classroom hours required by the state annually.
But administrators said they have to make up the time from last week.
Moore said that using Good Friday and the two Saturdays would have benefits such as getting time in before high school students take Advanced Placement exams in May.
In contrast, Moore said extending the school year would have limited value because the days would be after state testing has finished.
Moore said that adding 20 minutes to the school day – split between an earlier arrival and a later dismissal – would satisfy state requirements. But she questioned the value that would come to adding a few minutes to each class.
“It’s not the same as having a full day of instruction to replace a day of instruction,” she said.
Hui: 919-829-4534; Twitter: @nckhui
Triangle makeup days
Some other Triangle school systems have announced how they’ll make up this winter’s snow days.
Traditional calendar: March 27, June 10-11; March 11 and April 29 changed to full days, classes on March 27, June 10-11.
Year-round: March 11 and April 29 changed to full days; classes on March 23-27.
City of Medicine: April 29 changed to full day; classes on March 16, May 26-28.
Early College: April 29 changed to full day; classes on April 6, May 26-28.
Middle College: Classes on March 9-10, April 6, May 26-27.
Traditional calendar: March 11, April 29 and June 10 changed to full days; classes on March 27, April 9-10 and June 11.
Year-round: March 11, April 29 and June 10 changed to full days; classes on March 20, April 9-10 and June 11.
Early College & Middle College: April 29 changed to full day; March 12-13, April 2 and May 22.
March 12, April 23 and May 21 changed to full days; classes on March 21, March 27, April 11 and June 11-12.
April 2, April 29 and June 10 changed to full days; classes on March 16; all elementary schools, middle schools and K-8 schools add 15 minutes to the day starting March 9.