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Warren County Public Schools moves away from potential calendar change

FRONT ROYAL — Warren County Public Schools is backing away from a proposal that would shorten the length of summer break from 10 weeks to six or seven weeks.

In a work session of the Warren County School Board on Wednesday, Melody Sheppard, the district’s superintendent, said that the district sent out a survey to community members and teachers to gauge the community’s support of the potential changes to the calendar.

Of the 400 responses from teachers, 50 percent supported the proposed change, while 40 percent of the 1,600 responses from community members supported the change, Sheppard said.

“We need the majority of our stakeholders to be able to support this, so at this time, we’re going to kind of back up,” Sheppard said.

Under the previously proposed change, school years would begin in the beginning of August and last until the middle of June. Students would have longer breaks during the school year, where students who need additional help could receive remediation, so the total number of school days would remain unchanged.

Sheppard said during Wednesday’s meeting that the district would continue to look for ways to help students who need additional support from the district.

“We still need to figure out what we’re going to do to help those kids who are at risk and need additional work over the summer so that we can support them so they can achieve to their highest potential,” Sheppard said.

During a February School Board meeting, Sheppard said that the proposed changes would help students retain more knowledge from one school year to the next. Some of the support for the proposed plan stemmed from that rationale, Sheppard said Wednesday.

Meanwhile, many opponents of the change focused on the impact it would have on child care, Sheppard said.

Additionally, Sheppard said, some teachers seek summer employment.

“The extended-year calendar might have an impact on their supplemental employment,” Sheppard said.

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