ALBEMARLE — During its early March meeting, the Stanly County school board unanimously voted to adopt the 2021-2022 school calendars proposed for traditional schools as well as Stanly Early College High School.
Although the board passed these calendars, school-district officials and board members both expressed their interest in starting and ending the school year earlier, if state law will ultimately allow it.
“I see us coming back at some point to readdress the calendar,” Dr. Jarrod Dennis, superintendent for Stanly County Schools, told the board. “We’ve produced a calendar because we had to, but there are several bills still going through the General Assembly that address early starts and calendar flexibility. A lot of this is up for change as the bills go through the House and Senate.”
The calendar that was passed for traditional schools spans Aug. 23 to June 8 and includes 10 vacation days, 11 school holidays, eight sheltered professional days and seven professional days. Meanwhile, the SECHS calendar starts Aug. 12 and ends May 23; it contains 10 vacation days, 11 school holidays, eight sheltered professional days and 11 professional days.
Vicki Calvert, assistant superintendent of personnel and student services, noted that the school district wanted to proceed with adopting a calendar so both teachers and students can make late summer plans.
“The calendars that you see are based on state laws and the parameters given to us through those laws,” Calvert said. “However, we are hearing some talk that there’s a possibility that the state may allow us to start earlier, like they did this year. If the state changes the starting date, we also have a calendar that I’ll bring to you if they allow us to start earlier. Actually, our hope would be that we could start earlier.”
Calvert explained that while the original plan for the calendar had high school students finishing exams before Christmas break, the exams were subsequently moved to after the break when a survey was conducted among Stanly County Schools personnel. When the polling results came back with a split decision, the district decided to push the exams back out of concerns that it would be “short-changing” students in those first two quarters of the school year.
Some feedback from the surveys indicated that teachers preferred to have a full week off before Christmas if the exams were held after the break; other input suggested that the overall amount of early release days could be scaled down, so the district chose to only include them on the day before Christmas break and the last day of school.
Unless a special-called meeting is scheduled to address the 2021-2022 school calendars, the Stanly County Board of Education will hold its next meeting on April 6.