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With less than 50 days remaining in the current school year, the York County School Board approved next school year’s calendar Monday.
The new calendar includes a number of changes, such as the addition of one more student instructional day to the calendar.
The school year is set to begin Sept. 6, the day after Labor Day per Virginia law, and has 181 instructional days for students in order to provide an additional makeup day to the calendar. The state requires 180 instructional days for students, or 990 instructional hours.
“The plan is, if weather or some other event does not cause us to use that day, the plan is to forgive that day at Memorial [Day] weekend to have a four-day weekend,” said Carl James, chief operations officer for the York County School Division.
The calendar has 192 workdays for returning teachers, 194 workdays for new teachers and seven Student Assessment and Instructional Planning Days.
Prior to the first day of classes, schools and offices will be closed July 4, new teachers will report Aug. 22 and returning teachers begin Aug. 24.
The second week of November will include two student holidays with Election Day on Nov. 8 and Veterans Day on Nov. 11. Teachers will have a professional development and Student Assessment and Instructional Planning day Nov. 8, and elementary parent conferences and secondary professional development will be Nov. 11.
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving Day will be a student holiday next school year – a change from the current school year – giving students three weekdays and the weekend off for the holiday.
“I really like having the Wednesday before Thanksgiving off. I think a lot of students and parents take that half day off anyway,” school board member Cindy Kirschke said.
Dec. 21 will be the last day of school before winter break, which will stretch eight days Dec. 22 through Jan. 2.
Schools and offices will reopen Jan. 3 after winter break, which is a Tuesday.
School board member Mark Medford said it was good for teachers to have the Monday off prior to school starting back after winter break so they would not have to rush to prepare for students returning to school.
Spring break will be April 3-7, the first full week of April and two weeks before Easter, which will fall on April 16 in 2017.
“For us, luckily, [spring break] has coincided with the end of the third quarter,” James said.
First semester exams are Jan. 25 through 27, and second semester exams are June 13 through 15, which includes early dismissal and the last day of school.
Graduation is scheduled for June 16 at William & Mary Hall.
Additionally, students will have Jan. 16 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day), Jan. 30 (professional development day), Feb. 20 (Presidents’ Day) and May 29 (Memorial Day) off.
Possible makeup days due to cancellations include early dismissal days and holidays, however James said Memorial Day is not one of the days the school division usually looks at for makeup but depends on what challenges they end up facing.
A calendar committee composed of administrators, parents and teachers considers feedback from schools and a regional calendar committee to help draft each school year’s calendar.
The regional committee is made up of representatives from the six Peninsula school districts that send students to New Horizons Educational Centers and helps facilitate a regional calendar, providing continuity, reducing scheduling conflicts and providing an opportunity for regional professional development.