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Reach Roundup: School days and school calendars

Note: The following is the weekly Reach Roundup newsletter from August 16, 2018. To sign up for this newsletter, leave your information below.

Reach: School Days and School Calendars

As students and educators across the state head back to school over the next few weeks, we are taking a closer look at the timing of school days and school calendars. 

The state median for the last bell (or the last bell time at the start of the school day in each district) is 8:30 a.m. While research shows that schools and society benefit when school starts later, this shift comes with trade offs. In larger, more urban districts, shifting high school start times later often requires financial resources to hire more buses and bus drivers or requires elementary and middle schools to start earlier.

In North Carolina, state law designates when public schools start and end the school year. Before this legislation was enacted in 2004, most schools started before mid-August and ended in May. Now, school calendars must start no earlier than the Monday closest to August 26 and end no later than the Friday closest to June 11In a 2017 survey, education stakeholders overwhelmingly preferred a school calendar that starts in mid-August and ends in May, allowing mid-year exams to be taken prior to winter break and more alignment with community college calendars.

Our next question of the week is about self-driving cars. Click here to weigh in!

What you told us about food access:

Five Facts:

One of three states
North Carolina is one of three states that has mandated start and end dates for the school year along with Texas and Maryland.

6% of bus routes
In the 2017-2018 school year, 6 percent of buses make multiple afternoon runs from the same school. Multiple runs from the same school require that a second and possibly third load of students wait at the school in the afternoon while the bus completes its prior run.

4 a.m. pick-ups
In the 2017-2018 school year, Avery County Schools and Stokes County Schools have bus pick ups starting at 4:52 a.m. and 4:24 a.m, respectively. These are the earliest in the state. The statewide median for the first bus pickup is 5:43 a.m.

1,025 hours
As of the 2014-2015 school year, North Carolina requires students to receive 1,025 hours or 185 days of instruction in a school year. N.C. is one of 14 states that has the mandate across all grade levels.

8:30 a.m. last bell
The state median for the last bell at the start of the school day in the 2017-2018 school year is 8:30 a.m.

Our Picks:

Williams: Why a Longer School Day Could Make Learning More Compelling for Kids – and Life Less Stressful for Parents | The 74 Million – 7/22/2018

Why do schools run (on average) less than seven hours per day? Why does school generally end before 3 p.m.? Aside from educators themselves, almost no American adults work that sort of schedule. This misalignment has consequences.

Keep Reading

Week of teacher workshops extra benefit of new calendar | – 8/14/2018

When LCPS teachers reported for the first official workday of the 2018-2019 school year on Monday, they came to school as students. Thanks to a dramatic restructuring of the school calendar, the district is opening for business this week with an extensive block of professional development sessions for teachers, school administrators and support staff.

Keep Reading

Question of the Week:


Travel Notes:

Here’s where our team has been this week.

– Liz Bell is covering the first week of school in Edgecombe County.

– Robert Kinlaw is covering the launch of the North-Phillips Micro School of Innovation in Edgecombe County.

– Yasmin Bendaas visited the ImagineLab summer camp by the Carolina Center for Educational Excellence in Chapel Hill on Tuesday.

A kindergarten student practices spelling her name on the first day of school at Coker-Wimberly Elementary School in Edgecombe County. Liz Bell/EducationNC
Reach NC Voices Team

The Reach NC Voices team includes Nation Hahn, director of growth for EdNC; Molly Osborne, director of policy; Analisa Sorrells, chief of staff and associate director of policy; and Alli Lindenberg, engagement specialist.