LCPS: Calendar approved for next school year to give students earlier start to summer

LCPS: Calendar approved for next school year to give students earlier start to summer

LCPS students going to school according to the 2019-2020 traditional calendar recently approved by the Lenoir County Board of Education won’t see many changes from the calendar they’re following this year – except that the last day of school arrives more than a week earlier in May.

School is scheduled to begin for students on Monday, Aug. 26, in accordance with state law, and the academic year is scheduled to end with a half-day of school on Thursday, May 21. In between are the usual holidays – Labor Day, Veterans Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Memorial Day – and breaks built around Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter that are virtually identical in length and configuration to the current traditional calendar.

Graduation Day at Kinston High, North Lenoir and South Lenoir high schools for the Class of 2020 is scheduled for Friday, May 22. In recent years, the three commencements have been scheduled back-to-back on a Saturday in June.

“The one major difference from this year’s calendar is at the end of the year. After May 22, the students are done and that gets us out a little bit earlier,” Associate Superintendent Frances Herring told school board members before they unanimously approved the calendar on April 4.

The calendar approved by the school board was the favorite of four presented to LCPS employees by a district calendar committee.

For the second year, the traditional calendar meshes state rules for calendaring opening and closing dates, for instructional hours, for teacher workdays and other requirements with the district’s desire to finish the first semester and high school exams before the Christmas vacation.

In doing so, the public school calendar achieves another goal – to align as closely as possible with the calendar of Lenoir Community College, where hundreds of the district’s high school students take classes for college credit, and with the calendar of Lenoir County Early College High School, which is based on LCC’s.

The innovation is grouping workdays prior to the first day of school and after the last day of school. The workdays prior to school starting are largely devoted to professional development workshops organized by the district. Those at the end of the year allow teachers time to finish paperwork and prepare their classrooms before leaving for the summer.

Herring did point out to board members that “every month has a work day or holiday” – a hedge against weather-related interruptions as well as a needed break in the routine for students and teachers.

Other key dates in the 2019-2020 traditional school calendar include:

  • Monday, Aug. 12 – Teachers and staff return to school.

  • Wednesday, Nov. 27 – First day of Thanksgiving holiday. Classes resume Monday, Dec. 2.

  • Monday, Dec. 23 – First day of Christmas holiday. Classes resume Monday, Jan. 6, 2020.

  • Friday, April 10 – First day of Easter holiday. Classes resume Monday, April 20.

Early College High School students will start the new school year on Aug. 5. Their last day of school is scheduled for May 15, 2020.

LCPS, along with several other public school districts in the state, has legislation pending in the N.C. General Assembly that would grant it more flexibility in setting a school year’s starting date and closing date. Approval of that bill could open the door for changes in the 2019-2020 traditional calendar, but only if approval comes in the next few weeks, according to Superintendent Brent Williams.

Both the traditional and Early College calendars for 2019-2020 are posted on the district website at www.lcpsnc.org.

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