Wake Ed

Wake County year-round students to open on a Monday in 2016

Students at Pleasant Union Elementary School in Raleigh, a year-round school, enjoy the last day of classes on June 30, 2015 at Blue Jay County Park. Some Wake County year-round parents complain that the period between school years is shrinking.
Students at Pleasant Union Elementary School in Raleigh, a year-round school, enjoy the last day of classes on June 30, 2015 at Blue Jay County Park. Some Wake County year-round parents complain that the period between school years is shrinking. clowenst@newsobserver.com

Wake County year-round students will now start the 2016-17 school year on a Monday – as opposed to a Friday – in return for having winter break shortened by a day.

The school board agreed Tuesday to a suggestion from staff to revise next year’s proposed schedule for year-round schools to move the first day of school from July 8, 2016 to July 11. Previously, staff had argued that they needed to open the new school year on July 8, a Friday, “to make the calendar work.”

But on Tuesday, staff said the opening of school could be moved to the next weekday of July 11. As a trade-off, students on tracks 1, 2 and 3 would now have classes on Jan. 2, 2017 instead of getting it as the last day of winter break. Jan. 2, which is a Tuesday, was suggested because the same three tracks were the ones proposed for school on July 8.

Cathy Moore, deputy superintendent for school performance, told the board that she could “see the value” of leaving July 8 as a day off for students because “it gives the two full weekends as opposed to interrupting that weekend.”

Some year-round parents had complained about how the district has been shortening the period between the end of the school year and the start of the next one. For instance, the prior plan had school ending June 30, 2016 and starting eight days later on July 8. This meant ending on a Thursday and resuming the following Friday, which would only cover one weekend.

By starting July 11, students would end June 30 and resume 11 days later, covering two full weekends.

In another change that will affect all schools, the board asked staff to tweak the schedule so that classes will start later on Nov. 8, 2016. That’s Election Day when a large turnout is expected and many schools serve as polling places.

The school board gave tentative approval to the calendar Tuesday. The official vote will be on Sept. 15.

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