Campbell County students will start public school classes on Aug. 28 next school year.
The 2013-14 school calendar was approved by school trustees on Tuesday evening, with one item yet to be decided: When the district will schedule parent-teacher conferences.
Initially, school officials suggested scheduling those conference on Nov. 4 and Nov. 5, 2013. But those days are a Monday and Tuesday, a departure from the tradition of having conferences on Wednesday night, Thursday and sometimes a portion of Friday.
Since students aren’t in school during the conferences, families often can plan for a long weekend during the school year.
Teachers at a recent public hearing also said moving the conferences to Monday and Tuesday would make it difficult to continue teaching effectively through the rest of the week because of exhaustion.
Their thoughts were echoed by former Campbell County teacher and principal Anne Ochs.
She said after students are given early release Wednesday afternoon during the traditional parent-teacher conferences, teachers will be at school over the next seven hours to meet with parents.
They then spend a full day Thursday and Thursday night meeting with parents, and again Friday, as needed, to cope with parents’ working hours.
The elementary schools have a 98 to 100 percent rate of response from parents under that system and she cautioned school officials and trustees not to make changes that could cut that response.
But trustee Lisa Durgin said the No. 1 complaint she receives from parents are the number of early release days scheduled in the school district each year.
She questioned whether there should be an early release the Wednesday before conferences begin.
Boyd Brown, the associate superintendent for instruction, said he had removed five early release days from the 2013-14 calendar because he’s heard many of the same complaints.
Trustees suggested Brown survey parents to see how they feel about the issues and tabled a decision on parent-teacher conferences until that occurs.
At the same time, trustees also postponed a decision on the proposed 2014-15 school calendar until sometime in March, when they know if the state Legislature has passed budget items that will fund completion of an HVAC or air conditioning project at Rozet Elementary School.