BUCKHANNON – The proposed school calendar for 2022-2023 has been drafted and interested residents will have the opportunity to provide input at two Upshur County Schools Calendar Proposal Hearings.
The Upshur County Board of Education invites all interested persons to attend the Board of Education meetings on Jan. 25 at Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School (beginning at 6 p.m.) and Feb. 8 at Buckhannon-Upshur High School (beginning at 7 p.m.) to express their thoughts concerning the calendar for next year. The board will then consider the input prior to finalizing the calendar.
In a press release, the board said that the opportunity for public input on the proposed calendar will begin shortly after the start of each of the two BOE meetings. In order to comment about the calendar, interested parties should sign up prior to the meeting on the sign-in sheets provided.
A copy of the draft of the proposed calendar for the 2022-2023 school year is available to view here.
Upshur County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus said there are laws that county school boards must abide by regarding the formation and acceptance of the proposed school calendars. The calendar must include 180 instructional days, and Stankus said days for Faculty Senate meetings must be added into the calendar as well.
“We have to have preparation days for teachers and a closing for instructors,” Stankus said. “Those all have to be built into the calendar. Timothy Derico is our ‘school calendar expert.’”
Derico, the Upshur County Schools Facility Director, said the proposed 2022-2023 calendar is similar to the ones that were put in place for the previous two years.
“We have tried to be consistent so parents know what to expect, enabling them to plan vacations,” Derico said during a phone interview on Friday. “It offers a full week off during the week of Thanksgiving and slightly more than a week off because of the way the Christmas holiday falls, with students being off Dec. 22, 2022, and returning to classes on Jan. 3, 2023.”
Derico said the proposed 2022-2023 school calendar also has a full week off for spring break in the first part of April 2023. The starting date for teachers and personnel is Aug. 11, 2022 and students are scheduled to return to classes five days later, on Aug. 16. The proposed last day of the first semester is Dec. 22, 2022 and the last day for students is proposed to be May 26, 2023. Teachers and staff would finish the year on June 6.
The calendar, at this point, is merely a draft, Derico noted.
“That is what the hearings are for, to gather comments,” he said. “If anyone has anyone has any ideas or objections or anything like that, they are welcome to attend one of those two BOE meetings and let us know.”
Derico said folks who cannot attend either meeting are also welcome to call his office at 304-472-5480, ext. 1021, or email email@example.com.
Stankus said school officials are working with Kayla Yocum, technology systems/digital communication specialist for Upshur County Schools, to put up a survey link on the Upshur County Schools website that offers a place for anyone who wishes to comment on the proposed calendar a place to do so.
“Folks who choose to comment on this survey link will need to provide their names,” Stankus said.
Derico noted that several area counties worked together on the calendar.
“This proposed draft was made up by a representative from Gilmer County (because Lewis and Gilmer counties share an elementary school), a representative from Calhoun County (because Gilmer and Calhoun counties share a technical center), a representative from Lewis, Barbour and Upshur counties (because these counties all share Fred Eberle Technical Center),” Derico said. “Those entities developed this calendar, and that is the draft we are working from at this point. We will take the comments from here and from all of the other entities before the calendar is developed.”
Once the comments are gathered, Derico will take them back to the committee and the group will formulate the Upshur County Schools Calendar for the 2022-2023 school year. After that, Derico said the calendar is sent to the W.Va. State Board of Education for approval.
“It will get immediate approval at their next BOE meeting once it is submitted,” Derico said.
“This is called a balanced calendar,” Stankus noted. “This will help reduce the amount of learning loss that occurs over summer break. One of the things that needs to be considered – last year, this year and next year – is that we will offer summer programming.”
Stankus said they are considering that balance as well making sure there is adequate time for the summer programming.
“The summer programming is for not only enrichment but offers credit recovery for those students in need,” Stankus said.
Another benefit is the way the semesters line up with the winter holidays.
“Another good point of this proposed calendar is that we finish the first semester at the Christmas Break,” Derico said. “While that does not impact the elementary schools as much, for the high school students and semester exams, they finish when they leave for Christmas Break. That creates a natural break and they can come back and start their second semester when they return and do not have to prepare or review following Christmas for their semester exams.”