Next school year to start Aug. 30 and end June 9

April 07, 1993|By Lan Nguyen | Lan Nguyen,Staff Writer

Sandra French was worried about the number of days students have to complete lessons and term papers.

So Ms. French, a member of the Howard County school board, tried yesterday to sway her colleagues to add an extra day to next year's third marking period -- the shortest one with 43 days -- so that students would have more time to complete their work.

Students had complained to her that it was the most difficult marking period because snowstorms between January and March often force school closings, making it difficult for them and heir teachers to finish their work.

But adding an extra day would have made the end of the third quarter fall on the same day that teachers filled out report cards, making data processing and logistics difficult.

So Ms. French dropped her motion to amend next year's school calendar.

She then voted with the four other board members to start school Aug. 30 and end it June 9.

Winter break is scheduled to start Dec. 24 and spring break March 28.

"It becomes very stressful for them to get term papers written, to get their work accomplished," Ms. French said about the third quarter. "I keep looking at trying to have as much equity [as possible] in the number of days [in] marking periods."

But setting the end of the third quarter for March 25 -- the same day teachers fill out report cards -- would be "just too difficult," said Robert Lazarewicz, director of operations for county schools.

Mr. Lazarewicz said students are dismissed two hours early at the end of each marking period to allow teachers time to compute and record grades.

"It will create a burden down the road," said Associate Superintendent of Schools Maurice Kalin, whose office processes report cards before they are distributed to students.

Dana Hanna, chairman of the school board, said that if time was a great concern, "why don't we eliminate spring break? That's the whole problem."

In other matters:

* The school board approved the resignations of two teachers, Jewel DeVries, who was already on leave of absence, and Sandra Igoe, from Mount Hebron High School. Both left for personal reasons.

The board also approved leaves of absences for Suzanne Golibart, who teaches in the gifted and talented program at Burleigh Manor Middle School, and Cheryl Sage, assistant principal at Elkridge Elementary School.

* Beginning in August, county school bus drivers will be randomly tested for drugs for the first time under a new state rule.

They will be tested five times annually, and their names will be drawn randomly by a computer at the state Motor Vehicle Administration.

School transportation officials will inform contractors about the drug testing in meetings starting this week.

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