Board approves 2-day extension of school year

February 23, 1994|By Mary Maushard | Mary Maushard,Sun Staff Writer

Baltimore County's school calendar just keeps on changing.

The school board voted at its regular meeting last night to lengthen this school year by two days but to defer a decision on opening a day earlier than scheduled in September in order to close one day the next week for the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur.

This year's changes reflect how the nine "snow days" this winter have affected the calendar, forcing cancellation of the first four days of spring break and adding two days in June. The school year now will end Tuesday, June 21, instead of Friday, June 17 -- assuming there are no more weather-related closings.

The later closing date means a few other changes in the calendar, according to the revisions presented by Deputy Superintendent Anthony Marchione:

* Testing days in June, which are half days for students but full days for teachers, were moved closer to the last day of school to give teachers more continuous instruction time. Instead of June 9-14, testing will be conducted June 16-20.

* Summer school was moved back. Elementary summer school courses will begin June 28 instead of June 21 and end Aug. 1 instead of July 25. Secondary students will start summer school July 27 as scheduled, but end later, Aug. 5 instead of July 29.

If the requested change in the September opening date is approved, school will open Wednesday, Sept. 7, instead of Thursday, Sept. 8 and will close the next Thursday, Sept. 15, for Yom Kippur.

The recommended changes for the 1994-1995 calendar were put on hold when the board decided to review them last night.

As the calendar stands now, Jewish students and teachers would be able to observe two days of Rosh Hashana -- Sept. 6 and 7 -- before the school year began, but there is no provision for the faith's most sacred day, Yom Kippur.

The problem for the school system is one of attendance at schools with a large Jewish enrollment. The state Department of Education considers attendance in assessing a school system's performance.

To achieve a satisfactory rating, schools must have attendance rates of 94 percent or above. Last year, Baltimore County elementary schools exceeded that standard. Secondary schools missed it by more than a percentage point.

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