Loudoun Co. proposes 4 additional scholar days off so academics can end required trainings

Loudoun County Superintendent Aaron Spence is proposing closing colleges to college students on 4 days subsequent yr to provide academics sufficient time to complete required trainings.

Loudoun County is proposing closing colleges to college students on 4 days subsequent yr to provide academics sufficient time to complete required trainings.

The newest proposal, introduced to the varsity board Tuesday night time, includes closing college on just a few days that the varsity district considers “stand-alone days” — days that fall in between weekends and holidays. While academics take part in trainings, colleges can be closed Oct. 4, Nov. 4, Jan. 28 and June 16 as a part of the 2024-25 college yr.

The concept comes after neighborhood suggestions expressing frustration with the varsity division’s preliminary proposal. Earlier this month, Superintendent Aaron Spence floated the concept of beginning college two hours late on 16 days subsequent yr. But the county obtained greater than 2,000 responses to its suggestions kind, and plenty of had been vital of the late begins.

The additional time is required for academics to finish trainings that the state requires, college system leaders say. They’re tied to the Virginia Literacy Act and new math and English Standards of Learning. The county already has three skilled growth days constructed into its calendar for the following college yr, however Spence stated they’re unlikely to be sufficient for academics to satisfy all the necessities.

“They have to time to wrestle with and apply new ideas, and they should see ends in their college students earlier than they’ll decide to sustaining new practices,” Board Chair Melinda Mansfield stated. “This takes time and plenty of follow, teaching and help, and therefore, the VDOE suggestion of 1 module per 30 days. We can’t danger that individuals do the naked minimal to satisfy necessities as a result of that’s not how this works and won’t result in lasting change.”

The proposed extra days off are these on which the varsity district is anticipating many college students to be absent and plenty of academics to request substitute instructor protection, Chief Academic Officer Ashley Ellis stated at Tuesday’s board assembly.

“I do need to emphasize what’s being proposed is a one-time answer for the ’24-25 college yr, to particularly handle the spike in necessities from VDOE,” Ellis stated. “Staff just isn’t recommending a everlasting change in future calendars.”

With regard to suggestions on the extra closures, some households say it’s simpler to seek out day look after a full day as a substitute of a fraction of 1, Ellis stated. The skilled growth can be unfold out all year long, and there wouldn’t be an influence on meal service, transportation or bell schedules.

The college district thought-about a number of options, together with the late arrival time, early launch days, extra pay for academics to complete trainings on their very own time and extra growth days at the beginning of the yr, which might push college students’ begin date to after Labor Day.

The challenges of the 4 extra days off for college students embody misplaced educational time and the necessity for baby care for varsity district employees and their households. However, Loudoun County college students exceed state necessities of day by day educational time by 45 minutes per day, so the district would nonetheless meet the required 180 days or 990 hours of annual instruction, even with giving college students 4 extra days off.

Spence beforehand stated the additional trainings are the results of new requirements masking a number of topics getting rolled out on the identical time. At Tuesday’s assembly, Ellis detailed the handfuls of hours of trainings academics in several grade ranges and topic areas shall be required to take part in.

The college board nonetheless has to approve the ultimate plan.

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