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Cabell BOE outlines options for calendar

December 6, 2018

HUNTINGTON — Cabell County Schools laid out for the first time in public its two proposed calendars for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years during its regular meeting Tuesday night at the district’s central office in Huntington.

Both calendars are nearly identical in terms of major dates for students. The 2019-20 school year would begin classes on Aug. 14 and end on May 22, while the 2020-21 calendar starts on Aug. 13 and ends on May 25.

Both include full spring breaks aligning with Marshall University’s spring break in the last full week of March, as well as full Thanksgiving breaks in late November.

Creating the calendars considers several timing factors in the students’ years, explained Lenora Richardson, Cabell County Schools director of curriculum and assessment.

These include ending the semesters with Marshall and Mountwest Community and Technical College for high-schoolers in dual-credit courses, ending the first semester before Christmas break, and providing as much time as possible prior to Advanced Placement and SAT testing in May and April, respectively.

Both calendars can be viewed online at the Cabell County Schools website under the “Calendar” tab, along with a link to an online survey to gauge feedback from the public.

Of the roughly 150 people who have taken the survey so far — most identifying as school employees or parents — most were receptive to approving two calendar years at once for future planning, having full spring and Thanksgiving breaks, and having full days for faculty senate.

However, others preferred starting school after Labor Day or moving spring break to April, among other things.

Tuesday’s public hearing was purely informational, the first of two mandated before the board is allowed to take a vote — no decision was made by the board. A second informational hearing is scheduled for the board’s Dec. 18 meeting.

After those two public hearings, the board is allowed to make a vote, likely in January at the earliest. The board must set its calendars by May 3.

Last year’s debate over the 2018-19 school calendar dragged on for months, bringing the board to within days of a state mandated deadline to set its coming school year.

In April, the board finally decided on a “compromise calendar,” which ran the school year for students from Aug. 20 until May 30.

Both proposed calendars this year are modeled directly from the compromise calendar approved last year.

In other business, the board approved a contract to demolish the former Enslow Middle School, paving the way for the new Highlawn Elementary School to be built on the property.

The $342,888 contract would be awarded to Reclaim Company. The deal is contingent upon Huntington City Council’s expected approval of an abandonment and redirection of the alley currently dividing the property, located at 2613 Collis Ave.

The project is funded jointly through the state School Building Authority and county funds.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the new Highlawn Elementary School has been set for 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12, at the former middle school.

The board also voted to enter an interagency agreement with St. Mary’s Medical Management to provide hands-on learning for students at Cabell Midland and Huntington high schools.

Health science students will be allowed to observe and earn clinical training at the Huntington medical facility. The board has entered into similar interagency agreements with at least a dozen other local health care businesses.

The Cabell County Board of Education regularly meets the first and third Tuesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. at 2850 5th Ave. in Huntington. Meetings are always open to the public.

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