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RPS looks at three year-round calendar options for next school year

Richmond school leaders will be discussing the funding for the new George Wythe High School as...
Richmond school leaders will be discussing the funding for the new George Wythe High School as well as next year’s school calendar.(cleared)
Published: Nov. 15, 2021 at 6:15 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 16, 2021 at 5:36 AM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - During the school board meeting on Nov. 15, Superintendent Jason Kamras presented three options for extending the school year. This comes after division leaders say new data shows only 35% of third through eighth graders are at grade level for reading.

Option A would add 10 extra days to the school year and would also give teachers more time to create lesson plans. The school year would begin on Aug. 15.

Option B is the same as the first, however, the start of the school year would begin on Aug. 22, and would let students out on June 30.

Option C would keep the current amount of days students and teachers are in school but add 14 intersession days, which are one-week periods between quarters where students could get extra help.

However, some school board members aren’t on board. “We just promised teachers that we were going to slow down, not reinvent the wheel every year,” Kenya Gibson, a school board member said. “That’s a promise we just made. We are seeing an extraordinary number of teachers leaving the district, and the timing is just not appropriate. parents, students and teachers have been on a rollercoaster with this schedule.”

Superintendent Kamras believes adding additional instruction days will help with learning loss, but says he will create a fourth option with a more traditional calendar.

A list of all the options will be sent out to families in a survey that they will get the week after Thanksgiving. Board members will use that information and responses from multiple information sessions, to make a final decision in January.

The construction of the new George Wythe High School was also discussed at the meeting.

Mayor Stoney says $7.3 million has been set aside for the school from the city’s capital improvements plan, meaning the city council will have oversight. Mayor Stoney is worried about the school being overcrowded when it opens.

The mayor wrote a letter to the board challenging them on why they refused to work with him on his concerns. The city council will make a final decision about the money on Dec. 13.

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