The DeKalb County Board of Education formally adopted the school calendar for the 2011-2012 year Thursday night.
Sixth district member Bruce Parsley voted against passage of the calendar saying he preferred a one week rather than a two week fall break next year. "I just think a two week fall break is a little long for our younger students. It puts a lot of parents in a bind. I've talked to a lot of elementary school teachers and they're not real fond of it because, especially your real little kids, if they cry when you drop them off to go to school. You're not in school very long. Then you've got two weeks and then you start back and it's the same, you've got to start all over again. Then you don't have very many weeks. You've got Christmas break with two weeks off again and then you've got to start all over again. I just think it would be better if we had one week of fall break and scoot our start time back a week."
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In response, Michelle Burklow, Supervisor of Instruction for Pre-K to 6th grade and chairman of the school calendar committee, said that "We did do a survey that we sent out to all of our teachers and asked them about the fall break and how they wanted to set up the calendar. We based our calendar upon the survey results."
When asked by fifth district member W.J. (Dub) Evins, III why there is a two week fall break and only a one week spring break, Burklow explained that "At the high school, during that first semester, we have that first week (of fall break) set aside for high school students to come in and recover credit or improve their grades so that they have a passing grade. So we want to give them that additional boost fall semester so they do not feel like they are behind in the spring semester."
DCHS Principal Kathy Hendrix added that "we do have a good number of students who come during that first week of fall break and parents want us to have it (grade recovery) both weeks because they (students) get a lot of work completed during that time. We let them do grade recovery, credit recovery, Tiger Academy, anything they're behind in we allow them to do it during that period of time. Several students who didn't have passing grades at the end of the first nine weeks, the teachers submitted material for them to do during that period of time and at the end of that week, their grades had come up."
Director Mark Willoughby said that "it's been a big plus in the fact that students at the end of that first nine weeks, if they've gotten behind they can catch back up and they can start the second nine weeks without having a failing grade. That's where we catch a lot of kids up. They fall behind that first nine weeks, coming into a new school and everything. It's been very beneficial to us in the past."
Parsley then asked, "Is there a reason we can't do that (grade recovery) in just one week?"
Principal Hendrix replied, "we could but those students wouldn't have a fall break at all."
Director Willoughby added, "we're also concerned about getting teachers to agree to work that time, if they don't have any time off (for fall break)."
Parsley answered," but to me if you (students) had done your work like you were supposed to then you would have gotten a fall break. It's like you're rewarding and still giving them a fall break when they messed up to start with."
Under the 2011-12 school calendar, registration for all students will be Monday, August 1st. That will be an abbreviated school day from 7:30 a.m. until 9:30 a.m.
Tuesday, August 2nd will be an administrative day
The first full day of school for all students will be Wednesday, August 3rd.
A system wide professional development day will be Monday, July 25th at DCHS and all teachers from all schools must attend from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
All teachers will report to DCHS for a system wide professional development on Tuesday, July 26th . All teachers will report to their individual schools on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday July 27th, 28th, & 29th from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. each day.
Students will not attend on Monday, Labor Day, September 5th.
Schools will be closed for the fall break October 10th-21st
Students will be off for the Thanksgiving holiday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, November 23rd, 24th, & 25th and for the winter break December 19th through December 31st. Friday, December 16th will be the last day students attend before winter break and that will be an abbreviated school day. Students will return after the holidays on Tuesday, January 3rd.
Schools will be closed for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 16th and for President's Day, Monday, February 20th.
Schools will be closed for spring break April 2nd-6th.
Students will not attend on Tuesday, May 22nd. That will be an administrative day and all teachers must attend. The last day of school will be Wednesday, May 23rd. That will be an abbreviated school day and report cards will be sent home.
Parent-Teacher Conferences will be held on Tuesday, October 4th and Tuesday, March 13th at DeKalb County High School from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.
Parent-Teacher Conferences will also be held from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Thursday, October 6th and Thursday, March 15th at DeKalb Middle School, Northside Elementary, Smithville Elementary, and DeKalb West School.
Report cards will be sent home on Monday, October 3rd, Thursday, January 5th, and Monday, March 12th.
AYP-EOC/Gateway Testing at DCHS will be Tuesday through Thursday, December 6th-8th and May 1st-3rd at DCHS and a make-up AYP-EOC/Gateway Test will be Friday, December 9th and May 4th.
ACT Test for the 11th grade will be Tuesday, March 20th
Writing Assessment for the 5th, 8th, and 11th grades will be Tuesday, February 7th. Writing Assessment make-up will be Wednesday, February 8th.
TCAP testing of elementary students will be April 26th through May 4th
(Stockpile Days) Professional Development/Instructional Days will be held from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. on Friday, October 7th and Monday, January 2nd. Students will not attend on those days.
In other business, Director of Schools Mark Willoughby gave his monthly report on personnel.
Those employed since the last meeting are:
Paula Pinegar, educational assistant at Northside Elementary School
Sally Exum, educational assistant at Northside Elementary School (new position)
Lindsey Barrett, January Agee, and Anna Hitchcock, substitute teachers.
Amanda Trapp, transferred from substitute to educational assistant at Smithville Elementary
Thomas Maney, transferred from substitute custodian to full time at DCHS
Ray Robinson, transferred from DCHS custodian to DeKalb Middle custodian
Gary Good, DeKalb West educational assistant transferred to DCHS position
Angie Moore, Northside Elementary educational assistant transferred to DeKalb Middle School
Jennifer Lewis, transferred from substitute position to ESL educational assistant at Northside
Crystal Gordon, Northside Elementary educational assistant, resigned
Nancy Young, DeKalb Middle School educational assistant, resigned
Ginda Kilgore, DCHS educational assistant, resigned
Leave of Absence:
Trena Curtis, teacher at Smithville Elementary, leave as requested
The board adopted a resolution recognizing food service staff.
The resolutions states that "Whereas, school food service staff members plan, prepare and serve students healthy meals that keep them growing and learning each day; and
Whereas, food service staff members rise early each day in order to prepare breakfast and lunch for students and staff; and
Whereas, food service staff members consistently strive to be cheerful and encouraging to students that they encounter each day; and
Whereas, food service staff members act as public relations agents in their communities spreading stories of success from the schools in which they work, and
Whereas, food service staff members support the programs of the school and happily contribute in whatever ways they are asked to help make their schools the best places for children to learn; and
Whereas, the Board of Education and the Superintendent of DeKalb County Schools, view the work of the school food service staff as critically important to the success of the school; and
Now therefore, be it resolved that this board acknowledges and expresses its appreciation to each school food service staff member in our school district; and
Be it further resolved that next Thursday, January 20th is hereby established as Food Service Staff Appreciation Day in all DeKalb County schools.
Director Willoughby, in a memo to the board concerning Food Service Staff Appreciation Day, stated that "a member of the food service staff has many important responsibilities within the school. They are required to arrive early to prepare for the day. They cook nutritious and delicious meals for our students and staff each day. Even though it is demanding and hard work, most of them have smiles on their faces while they are doing it."
"The food service staff is of great value to each school. We want everyone in the DeKalb County School System to thank school employees on Food Service Staff Appreciation Day, which is Thursday, January 20th."
In other business, the board approved an overnight trip for members of the Senior Beta Club to attend the State Beta Club convention at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville February 14th-16th.
The board also approved a contract with Emily Thomas as Speech/Language Pathologist for the special education program in the school system, subject to funding and need at the rate of $40 per hour plus mileage to and from her home at 38 cents per mile. The term of the agreement is January 3rd through June 30th