Draft School Calendars Presented

SALISBURY – Community members will have an opportunity to provide their thoughts on two draft school calendars.

Last Tuesday, the Wicomico County Board of Education approved on first reading the drafts of two proposed school calendars for the 2022-2023 academic year. Kim Miles, assistant superintendent for student and family services, noted that both versions of the school calendar were similar, but proposed different winter breaks and school end dates.

“Drafts A and B are very similar with the exception of two months,” she said. “Those are December and June.”

In Draft A, the academic year would begin on Sept. 6 and end on June 9. It also proposes a winter break from Dec. 22 through Dec. 30, with students returning to school Jan. 2. In Draft B, the academic year would begin on Sept. 6 and end on June 14. The winter break would run from Dec. 19 through Dec. 30, with students returning Jan. 2.

With the board’s approval last week, officials say both calendars will be posted on www.wcboe.org. Miles noted that the school system will also seek the community’s input on both calendars using an online survey.

“That window for the survey will be open through February 28, with anticipation that if all goes as planned we’d come back to you in March with feedback and seeking approval of the final calendar for next year,” she said.

The Board last week also voted to use Presidents Day, celebrated on Feb. 21, as an inclement weather makeup day for students.

“By using Presidents Day, we would not have to have students come back on the 17th of June, but it would also allow us the potential for requesting a waiver from the state for the 16th and later days in June,” Superintendent Dr. Donna Hanlin said. “Based upon my experience with the state board and requesting such waivers, I think we have a much greater opportunity to have that happen by making this adjustment to our school calendar.”

A motion to revise the 2021-2022 school calendar passed 5-2, with board members Michael Murray and Tonya Laird Lewis opposed.

“I’m concerned we’ve made so many changes here recently,” Lewis said. “I appreciate your efforts, but I personally do not feel that going on Presidents’ Day is what I’m going to choose.”

Chief Academic Officer Dr. Rick Briggs also announced that the school system has adjusted its virtual learning plan to include four hours of synchronous instruction on inclement weather days. He noted Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) requirements included taking attendance and providing opportunities for students to make up missed work on virtual inclement weather days. It also required a Virtual Inclement Weather Day Plan to be presented to the community and posted on the school system’s website.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.