Wake Ed

Wake County changes 2017-18 school calendars, starts Thanksgiving break earlier

Nine year old Xavier Thompson sports a holiday hat as he waits in line for a traditional Thanksgiving meal at Mt. Vernon Middle School on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016 in Raleigh, N.C. Wake County students will be sent home early on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving in 2017.
Nine year old Xavier Thompson sports a holiday hat as he waits in line for a traditional Thanksgiving meal at Mt. Vernon Middle School on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016 in Raleigh, N.C. Wake County students will be sent home early on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving in 2017. rwillett@newsobserver.com

All Wake County students will now get sent home early on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving this year.

The Wake County school board updated the 2017-18 schedules for all of its schools on Tuesday to make Nov. 21 an early-release day in which students are sent home 2 1/2 hours early. The board is dropping the early-release day previously adopted for some schools on May 25, the Friday before Memorial Day.

In addition, the updated 2017-18 calendars also drop the scheduling of some previously selected early-release days as possible inclement weather makeup days.

Last month, the school board adopted 2018-19 school schedules that designated Thanksgiving Tuesday as an early-release day and discontinued the use of early-release days as makeup days. At the time, school officials said they might also change the previously approved 2017-18 calendars.

Wake has historically made the Wednesday before Thanksgiving a holiday for both students and staff or a teacher workday. This helps families who travel for Thanksgiving.

Deputy Superintendent Cathy Moore previously told the school board that the Superintendent’s Teacher Advisory Council asked the district to make the Tuesday before Thanksgiving an early-release day.

Supporters of the change say it will help families. Critics say it will encourage students and teachers to take that Tuesday off when there’s only 1 1/2 days of classes that week.

For the past few years, Wake had set aside some of the early-release days as potential makeup days. It takes converting two early release days into full days to replace a lost day of school.

Moore previously told the board that staff wants to protect the professional development time set aside for teachers on early-release days. She cited how schools might pay money for people to come in those days to provide training.

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