Board of Education approves 2013-2014 school calendar

Published 6:10 pm Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A proposed calendar for the 2013-2014 school year was one significant item of business the Chilton County Board of Education reviewed and approved at its regular meeting Tuesday.

The calendar is similar to the one used for the 2012-2013 school year except it contains 175 instructional days as opposed to 180 days.

Reasons for the subtraction of instructional days stem from a tighter framework in which schools must fit all required classroom hours each year.

Prior to the 2012-2013 school year, the state Legislature required that students start school no earlier than two weeks before Labor Day and finish no later than May 24, the Friday before Memorial Day.

The start-date restriction is still in place for the 2013-2014 school year. The first day of school for Chilton County students this year will be Monday, Aug. 19.

Chilton County Schools Superintendent Dave Hayden said the end-date restriction has been lifted for the new school year, but he and the county’s school calendar committee decided to fit everything in before Memorial Day since it could be difficult to have all students and teachers return after the holiday for only a few days. The last day of school for the upcoming year is scheduled for May 22.

In order to complete a total of 1,080 instructional hours in 175 days, Hayden recommended that schools increase academic instruction from six hours per day to six hours and 12 minutes per day to allow for five days to be removed from the 180-day calendar.

“Most people wouldn’t know there was any change at all,” Hayden said. “Rather than go 180 days, we can save those 12-minute periods and go 175 days. I think this is the best we can do given the time constraints. It’s a good calendar.”

The board approved the recommendation Tuesday, as well as one for kindergarten registration throughout the county to be held April 22–26.

The board did not take action on pending school scheduling decisions but heard comments from visitor Darlene Reed, a teacher at Maplesville High School, about the benefits of changing from the current block schedule back to the traditional seven-period schedule.

“The interest of our children is what I’m interested in most,” Reed said. “I support wholeheartedly a traditional schedule over block scheduling.”

Hayden recognized the Chilton County Schools Transportation Department for receiving outstanding marks on the most recent bus inspection.

“They consistently do this,” Hayden said. “Our buses are as safe and well-maintained as any in the state. It’s a very good rating.”

Hayden also recognized Samuel Gasson of Thorsby High and Neil Ousley of Maplesville High for winning Central Alabama Electric Cooperative Youth Tour awards.