According to our local paper, The Sentinel News, The school board voted to shorten the current educational year and end on May 15 2020
Courtesy of The Sentinel News
End of school year for students moved to May 15
District working with students on how to address graduation, other milestones
Wednesday, April 29, 2020 at 3:00 am (Updated: April 29, 3:03 am)
The Shelby County Board of Education Thursday voted to alter the public school calendar at its meeting, a move that will end the year earlier.
The school board voted to set the last day of school as May 15, alongside a few other changes to the year to keep up with the changing circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Shelby County Public Schools Public Relations Coordinator Cyndi Skellie, schools are required to keep students in the classroom for a certain number of hours a year.
“There is a formula that schools have to use to ensure that schools have one thousand sixty-two hours of instruction,” Skellie said. “Shelby County has a few added minutes per day since the very beginning and they modified some things for NTI, so with that formula, we actually reach our one thousand sixty-two hours as of May 15th.”
The formula also allows schools to count NTI days for seven hours of instruction, per education commissioner Kevin Brown.
Despite classes ending earlier than expected, teachers will still be required to work until the previously posted end of the school year on June 3.
“Shelby County teachers will work on three major tasks between May 15 and June 3,” Chief Academic Officer Susan Dugle said in an email. “First, teachers will continue to gather evidence of student learning that occurred during the NTI period from March 16 through May 15. They will assign grades and prepare report cards. They will also assist in all end-of-year record keeping for their classrooms.”
In addition, the teachers will work alongside Dugle to plan and set the curriculum for the next school year.
“Teachers will consider the curriculum from the previous year and make adjustments for the coming year based upon the missed in-person instruction during the COVID-19 emergency,” Dugle said. “Lastly, all teachers will work in content and grade-level groups to revise district curriculum and instructional resources for all areas.”
An early summer break was not the only decision the board of education made that will impact students.
The board also voted to change graduation requirements, allowing students to graduate with the state minimum 22 credits.
“It’s recommended by our commissioner to do so and authorized,” Dugle said.
The 22-credit requirement is consistent with the rules the county previously had in effect, but the alteration eased some of the other requirements that students would have to complete.
“In our policy, we also have the requirement of being transition ready,” Dugle said. “In this environment, all students did not have the ability or access to do so…The state also waived the requirements for civics tests.”
In addition, senior defenses of learning have been suspended, according to a notice sent to Shelby County students.
And of course, NTI requirements - which are extended to the end of the year - will mean that students won’t get to enjoy certain milestones and activities that they normally would. Shelby County’s teachers, however, are working on ways that they can have similar experiences along with keeping to social distancing guidelines.
“PE teachers at elementary schools are planning virtual field days,” Skellie said. “There will be more information rolled out about that probably by the end of this week.”
Principals at individual schools are working on ways to celebrate awards, promotions and graduations. They are working to ensure that students’ voices are heard as well.
“At the high school level, we felt that students needed to have input, so the principals are working with their senior class officers and gathering input from students about how they can plan a possible graduation,” Skellie said. “We should have something in place before May 15th.”