School board OKs calendar changes


Staff Writer

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

NASHVILLE — The Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools Board of Education approved a plan Monday that will allow high school students to take first semester exams before Christmas break next year.

The Nash-Rocky Mount school board, like many school boards in the state including those in Edgecombe and Johnston counties, has been wrestling for several years with ways to allow traditional high schools to end first semester before Christmas break while still remaining compliant with complex state laws that do not allow school to start before the Monday closest to Aug. 26.

Last month, the school staff presented a calendar to the Nash-Rocky Mount school board that did not allow exams before Christmas and was asked to go back to the drawing board to see if the calendar could be tweaked.

“After the board asked us to look at the calendar again, we reviewed the legislation and decided that we could approach the process differently,” said Robin Griffin, director of accountability and information for Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools. “It took every bit of brain power we had to make this work.”

Under the new calendar for the coming academic year, first semester will be considerably shorter. First semester will contain 78 student days and second semester will have 87 student days. Classes will begin on Aug. 27 and graduation will take place on May 31 and June 1, about a week earlier than the current calendar for the 2017-18 academic year.

All of the school board members were excited about the new plan, which passed unanimously. The past two years, snow days have disrupted school schedules and exam times in January, causing havoc with school planning and putting an additional strain on students trying to review first semester work after Christmas.

School board member Brenda Brown said she feels the new schedule will be kinder to students.

“I think this is a good idea because it tells students that we care about them and we want them to have a great winter break without worrying about exams, so I think this is a great idea all around,” Brown said.

Griffin said she had a statement from a student who attended traditional schools in the school system in the past and now attends the early college where they have exams before the break. The student said he really preferred having the exams early because he forgets everything he knew over Christmas break. 

“I think this means many of the students echo the sentiments of the school board,” Griffin said.

Griffin said the revised calendar should be easier for other students and teachers as well.

“There are no more than 26 consecutive school days before there is a teacher workday or a holiday in the new calendar,” Griffin said. “So there are no more of these marathon educational experiences. Everyone gets a chance to get a break and get refreshed.”

In other business, the school district gave approval to the final bid for Spaulding Elementary School. The bidding process started with an opening bid of $10,000 by the Spaulding Alumni Association 18 rounds ago and ended this month with a final bid of $173,911.63 by S&J Holdings in Nashville. The final contract for the sale will be presented to school board member in March.

The bidding process for O.R. Pope Elementary School is still ongoing. Charles Roberson bid $35,000 for the property in the fifth round of bidding. That 10-day bidding process is set to begin again later this week.