From the superintendent’s Desk: 2013-14 school calendar
I want to take this time to congratulate our school board chairman, John Greene, for being the first-ever recipient of the ACS School Board Member Leadership Award. During the recognition ceremony, Greene was complemented for leading the Avery County School Board as chair during his four-year tenure and for always being willing to make the difficult decisions needed to keep students first. Greene quickly earned the respect of his fellow board members, his superintendent and the community at-large. Around the region and state, Greene is known as a man with vision, leading by example. His time on the board has been one of progress and results, both of which are sure to continue under his leadership. Greene is a wonderful example of the strong leadership we have in Avery County and the committed school board that is now directing our schools.
Currently, plans are in progress for the 2013-14 school calendar. This calendar will be presents challenges due to legislative changes. In the 2012 North Carolina Legislative Session, Senate Bill 187 was approved effecting school calendars beginning with the 2013-14 school year.
Senate Bill 187 requirements:
• Start date no earlier than the Monday closest to Aug. 26 and end date no later than the Friday closest to June 11 (unless a weather related calendar waiver has been approved, year-round school, charter school or cooperative innovative high school). If a waiver is approved the start date can be no earlier than the Monday closest to Aug. 19. Avery County Schools do have an approved waiver.
• There are no educational purpose waivers for exemption of the opening and/or closing dates.
• Mandates at least nine calendar months.
• Must have a minimum of 185 days or 1,025 hours of instruction.
• Must have at least 10 teacher workdays.
• Local boards shall designate two workdays on which teachers may take accumulated vacation leave. Local boards may designate the remaining workdays as days teachers may take accumulated vacation leave.
• Have a minimum of 10 annual vacation leave days.
• Have the same or an equivalent number of legal holidays occurring within the school calendar as those designated by the State Personnel Commission for state employees.
• School shall not be held on Sunday.
• Veterans Day shall be a holiday for all public school personnel and students.
Basically the school calendar is a 10-month calendar that needs to fit within 12 months with the Senate Bill 187 requirements. We want our calendar to effectively meet the needs of our students and the community. Please feel free to contact me with input or concerns.
In preparation for the Christmas season, Avery County Schools is involved in several community projects. First, each school is participating in the annual Tree Trimming Contest where students will make all the decorations. The tree trimming will be complete by this Friday, Dec. 7, and will be on display at Newland Town Square.
A second project of our schools is the annual Fill Up the Sleigh Christmas Project for Avery County families. Schools are collecting new toys-for all ages, including baby items such as diapers and wipes. This campaign is in progress through Dec. 10.
The culminating event is the annual Newland “Christmas In Lights/Home for the Holidays” parade at 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8. Students, schools and communities are invited to participate. All parade entries must contact Veronica Brocco at (firstname.lastname@example.org) to reserve a place in the parade. ACS would like to invite any interested veterans or active/inactive military service men and women to be our guest and ride in the parade on the JROTC bus. After the parade, the community is invited to gather on Newland Town Square for a grand Avery County Tree Lighting ceremony. There will hot chocolate, cider, baked goods, Christmas music and more. In addition, the public will be able to vote on an ACS tree for the People’s Choice Award. Judges from around the county will select the Avery County School’s overall champion tree. This parade celebration promises to warm your heart and generate much holiday cheer.
Thank you for the support of our students and remember that we want to work together to provide the very best education for our students.