(April 3, 2015) A modified calendar had already been unanimously approved by the Worcester County Board of Education to compensate for all the missed school days earlier this year, but needed state approval to waive a three-day shortfall.
They got that this week, when State Superintendent Dr. Lillian M. Lowery issued the waiver, although local officials had been planning for the possibility that Worcester might not be issued a pass.
Public school students are required to attend at least 180 days per any given school year. Foul weather and repeated snowstorms closed schools nine times this year, the bulk of which occurred in the past two months. The school calendar builds in three days for inclement weather closings, leaving a deficit of six days.
“We looked within our calendar for opportunities to find days,” Barb Witherow, Worcester County Public Schools spokeswoman said.
One opportunity was yesterday, April 2, which was switched from a professional day for teachers to a half-day of instruction for students, Witherow said.
“We could have made Easter Monday, April 6, into a session day but we decided not to ask that of our parents who already may have travel plans,” she said.
During the March 17 meeting, the board also voted to add two days to the end of the calendar and to seek a waiver for the remaining three make-up days. With waiver approval, the last day of school will be June 18 – as long as there are no more inclement weather closings.
Lowery, was under no obligation to approve the request and Witherow said the superintendent has denied requests in the past. Worcester County’s case this year was bolstered by the fact that the three days requested waived coincided with declarations of “snow emergencies,” limiting travel access to all residents.
As part of the board’s adoption of a modified 2014-2015 school calendar, the following changes are in effect:
• Thursday, April 2 will be a half-day for all students and a full day for all staff
• Monday, June 15 will be a full day for students and staff
• Tuesday, June 16 will be a full day for students and staff
• Wednesday, June 17 will be a half-day for all students and a full day for all staff
• Thursday, June 18 will be a half-day for all students, the last day of school for all students, and a full day for all staff.
Lunch is scheduled during half days and bus transportation will operate accordingly. There is no afternoon pre-kindergarten on half days. High school final exams will be administered on June 17 and June 18.
For a modified school calendar for 2014-2015, visit the school system website at www.worcesterk12.com.