NCSS puts final marks on calendar

COVINGTON -- Officials at the Newton County School System have decided on a school calendar for next school year -- but it's not finalized yet.

During the Newton County Board of Education's monthly work session Tuesday, Superintendent Steven Whatley recommended the approval of a 180-day student calendar for the 2010-11 school year at the board's regular monthly meeting April 27.

"We have been working on a calendar for months now," Whatley said during the work session. "There are multiple issues involved in the development of a calendar. It's not just holidays and breaks -- it's instructional times and whether or not to have parent conferences ... and numerous factors."

He recommended the board approve a calendar similar to the one NCSS is operating from this school year, except it would not include week-long fall and winter breaks, as well as early release days for parent conferences. Earlier this school year, school system officials considered a balanced calendar, an August start date calendar, a four-day week calendar, a 158-day calendar and a 169-day calendar.

The proposed calendar would have students report to classes Aug. 9 for the 2010-11 school year, after teachers reported for preplanning on Aug. 2.

Students would get their first break on Sept. 10 for Labor Day and an extended break Oct. 14 to 15 for a teacher workday and student holiday, respectively. Thanksgiving break will run from Nov. 22 to 26, and a semester break is scheduled from Dec. 20 to 31, followed by a teacher workday Jan. 3.

After students begin the second semester of the 2010-11 school year on Jan. 4, their next day off will be the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday on Jan. 17. They would get a short winter break from Feb. 14 to 16 and another teacher workday March 14. Spring break is scheduled from April 4 to 8.

The last day of the 2010-11 school year for students will be May 26. Post-planning for teachers will occur May 27 and 31. May 30 would be a Memorial Day Holiday for school staff.

Whatley siad the calendar -- which is 180 student days and 190 teacher days -- includes 87 student days for the first semester and 93 student days for the second semester.

"This calendar probably still has problems and will not be popular with everyone," Whatley said. "We do not know what the Legislature will do with (the required number of school) days. ... We are doing this so we can move on. We've changed this year's calendar four times. We need to move on."

He warned at an earlier meeting that the 2010-11 calendar could change throughout the school year as well.

The school board is expected to vote on the proposed calendar at its next meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. April 27 in the board room at the Newton County Board of Education, located at 2109 Newton Drive N.E. in Covington.