Board OK's Seeking Waiver on Calendar
The Moore County Board of Education on Monday night approved a request from all four county high school principals to apply for a waiver for the 2007-2008 high school calendar.
But the board stipulated that if the N.C. Department of Public Instruction approves the waiver, it would meet again to make a final decision on whether to change the calendar or not.
"The waiver does not mean that we would automatically (change the calendar)," said Union Pines principal Robin Lea. "It gives us a little flexibility to see if it is in the best interest of the students."
The reason for the waiver request is twofold.
Because the high school calendars do not coincide with college calendars, high school students who are either taking classes at Sandhills Community College through the First Step program or who want to graduate early and take college classes have been experiencing scheduling problems.
The high school principals want to coordinate the schedules between their schools and Sandhills.
Starting school on Aug. 8 and ending May 21 instead of starting on Aug. 25 and ending June 8 would get students more in sync, principals said.
Because the First Step initiative expects all Moore County students to have 12 college credits before they graduate, officials expect that more students will be taking community college classes.
"The problem seems small, but as the years progress it's going to get greater and greater," Lea said. "We're taking away opportunities because we can't be on the same calendar as colleges and community colleges."
The application for the waiver is due to the Department of Instruction on Nov. 1. Each high school would have to apply separately.
Superintendent Susan Purser said she thought the schools' application wouldn't be considered until December at the earliest.
"I look forward to the months ahead about what other alternatives there are to bring a synchronization between the college and K-12 calendar," Purser said. "By pursuing this waiver, it just gives us the opportunity to explore what might work best for the students."
Dr. Eric Porter, the assistant superintendent for secondary education, is coordinating the school system's request for a waiver. He said if the waiver is granted, the schools will still conduct more research to make sure a calendar change is the best move.
"If we receive the waiver, school principals will talk to parents, faculty and have some conversation with elementary and middle school principals to make sure there are no personnel conflicts," he said.
In other business, Purser announced the high school ABCs accountability program and Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) results.
ABCs is a state accountability initiative, which sets standards for meeting academic targets. North Moore and Union Pines were designated as ABCs schools of progress.
All high schools made AYP, which is part of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
Katherine Evans is an intern from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Contact her at 693-2480 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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