State Superintendent Approves Calendar Waiver for GCS

State Superintendent June Atkinson approved Guilford County Schools' (GCS) request for a waiver from the 185-day calendar requirement. Under the waiver, student instructional days on the traditional calendar for 2011-12 are the same, but five of the teacher workdays are adjusted to meet state requirements.

The teacher workdays on the traditional calendar for Oct. 28, March 26 and June 7 were changed from protected to mandated workdays. Schools will use these days for professional development. Regional superintendents will work with principals to arrange time for grading and planning. The workdays on Aug. 24 and Jan. 20 were changed from protected to optional workdays to allow teachers to use leave days they have accumulated.

The calendars for year-round, early and middle colleges and other alternative schools have been adjusted accordingly.

The state budget added five student days to school calendars by using five protected teacher workdays as instructional days instead. School districts can apply for a waiver from the state to use the five days for professional development on Race to the Top or the Common Core, the state's new curriculum that will become effective in the 2012-13 school year. GCS applied for the waiver due to costs associated with transportation and extra instructional days, challenges of adjusting student and staff schedules, and concerns voiced by parents and teachers.

With the five instructional days added by the state, the required number of hours students must be in class each year increased from 1,000 to 1,025. GCS already exceeds this requirement, with most schools providing between 1,100 and 1,145 instructional hours per year.