Last school year there were at least six different school calendars for students to follow. Superintendent Dr. Ross Renfrow challenged members of the Calendar Committee to reduce that number to no more than three this year and possibly to just one or two calendars the following year.
With that challenge in mind, a new 2019-2020 school calendar was adopted in April for 20 schools identified as Restart schools or schools in their feeder patterns.
The new 2019-2020 Restart school calendar adopted in April is for: Cooper Academy, Smithfield-Selma High, Selma Middle, Smithfield Middle, Selma Elementary, West Smithfield Elementary, Wilson’s Mills Elementary, Innovation Academy, South Smithfield Elementary, South Johnston High School, Benson Elementary, Benson Middle, Four Oaks Elementary, Four Oaks Middle, Meadow School, North Johnston High, North Johnston Middle, Glendale-Kenly Elementary, Micro Elementary, and Pine Level Elementary.
Chief of Human Capital Brian Vetrano said the calendar was approved by school staff and community members.
School Board member Todd Sutton questioned Vetrano on why all the school calendars could not be combined into one. Sutton also questioned why teachers had two back-to-back workdays. Sutton said teachers he had spoken with prefer only single workdays. Sutton said multiple calendars were an injustice to teachers who are under one calendar but have children who attend a school in a different feeder pattern.
School Board Vice Chair Peggy Smith said she was fine with fewer calendars but wanted each school to have flexibility on start and end times. School board member Teresa Grant agreed that flexibility in hours was fine but all schools needed to be in session the same day and have the same days off.
Superintendent Renfrow said the start and end times are often dictated by multi-tier bus schedules where buses serve more than one campus and often more than one route.
School Board member Terri Sessoms asked Vetrano to let the School Calendar Committee know about their concerns and work towards a single calendar. The only exceptions would be for Early College and CTLA students. “We need to make it equal for all,” Sutton added.
In March, the school board approved the Traditional 2019-2020 School Year Calendar for schools not covered by the Restart Calendar or for Early College / CTLA students. Under both calendars, students will begin classes on August 26, 2019. Their last day of classes will be on May 29, 2020. They also have the same vacation days at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Spring Break.