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St. Mary's Schools Start After Labor Day

2017-2018 School Calendar presented at SMCPS Board of Education Meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 11

Leonardtown, MD – In 2016, Gov. Larry Hogan signed an executive order to mandate that public schools in the state extend the summer break through Labor Day beginning 2017 and end by June 15. Like it or not, teachers, staff, parents/guardians, and students, this is an ‘executive decision,’ and expect a revised operational system school calendar to be available by the end of the month. The St. Mary’s County Board of Education reviewed draft 2017-2018 system operational calendars for the St. Mary’s County Public Schools (SMCPS) and the Chesapeake Public Charter School (CPCS) Wednesday, Jan. 11 at their regularly scheduled meeting.

Dr. Jeffery A. Maher presented the draft system operational calendars for 2017-2018 to the Board for review and comment. Maher said, “Since the Fall, Ms. Maureen Montgomery has served as co-chair on the Calendar Committee, and I want to thank her for helping to develop this calendar.”

He told the group to develop the calendars the committee took into consideration input from approximately 2,200 stakeholders. Maher said, “We had focus group sessions, student town hall meetings, a stakeholder online survey, a Google site and three calendar meetings.”

There are some required numbers of student days, as well as hours that must be adhered to by the State of Maryland regulations. Students must be in school for 180 days according to regulations.

The current operational calendar has nine professional development days built into it. Maher said, “Columbus Day and Fair Day were two days that parents voiced were important and wanted to be maintained.”

The biggest changes to the 2017-2018 calendar will be that 11-month staff for SMCPS will report  Aug. 2, 2017, and New Teacher orientation will be held Aug. 1-2 for CPCS and Aug. 23-25 for SMCPS. In the past, nine professional development days for teachers in SMCPS were spread throughout the school year causing closing for students. The new calendar will have five professional days in August before school starts. For SMCPS the professional days will be Aug 28-31 and for CPCS the professional days will be Aug. 3-8.

Possible inclement weather make-up days will be Apr. 2, Feb. 19, and June 13-15 in 2018. If there are no snow days used, the last day of school for students will be June 12, 2018.

The CPCS will be scheduled to open on Aug. 9, 2017, and will submit a waiver to Gov. Hogan office as appropriated by his mandate. A copy of the waiver can be found in the board docs section of the Board of Education website.

Drafts of the proposed calendars with complete details of early dismissals are available online in the board docs sections of the Board of Education website. The documents are available for comment from parents/guardians, students, members of the education associations, teachers, support staff, principals and central office staff.

A public hearing was originally set for Wednesday, Jan. 25 on this matter, however, Superintendent Scott Smith announced he has a conflict of interest on that date. Anyone wishing to speak to this matter should check the Board of Education Website at www.smcps.org/boe for the public hearing date. Smith said, “The hearing will likely be held Tuesday, Jan. 24 with Board of Education approval to be scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 8.”

Board Members Mary Washington and Cathy Allen took the time to thank Dr. Mahar, Ms. Montgomery, and the committee members for the hard work that went into developing the draft calendars and gaining a diverse audience of opinion.

Washington said, “When you add up all the respondents and input you received from all the different stakeholders and methods, you acquired over 3,000 and I thank you very much.”

Contact Shertina Mack at s.mack@TheBayNet.com

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