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From the Desk of ACS Supt. Burleson: Athletics Recognition, Calendar Editorial

To the Editor,

Supt. Burleson
Supt. Burleson

Avery High School has just completed one of the most successful winter sports seasons in the history of the school. The girl’s basketball team made it to the second round of the state tournament and our boy’s basketball team made it to the fourth round of the state playoffs getting knocked out once again by Winston-Salem Prep Academy. This makes three consecutive years that the Viking Boy’s Basketball team has gone undefeated in the Western Highlands Conference. The Viking Wrestling team had four state qualifiers and as a community we want to extend very special congratulations to Ryan Sheppard who was the 195lb state champion. I want to personally thank each coach, athletic director, and trainer for the time and effort they put into making this such a successful season for our students. We also had many volunteers, from school staff to parents, who were extremely helpful and supportive.

On another topic, winter weather always poses a problem because of the impact it has on school schedules. I think we all enjoy a snow day, but none of us really enjoy making them up. As of Friday, March 11, here is where we are with days missed due to inclement weather:

16 days have been missed.

16 hours missed for Delays/Early Dismissals.

The extended instructional time plus making March 17 a full instructional day has allowed us to not make up 11 days we have missed. April 14, April 15 and April 19 are now school days along with June 3. If is had not been for the added time we would have lost our two days at Easter and the last day of school would have been around June 20.

June 3 is the projected last school day for students.

The next day to use for make-up will be April 18. (Let’s hope we will not need to use this day.)

As we finish preparation on the 2016-2017 school calendar, I would like to explain some of the calendar issues that we are required to deal with. One of the first issues to understand is that ten-month employees are required to work 215 days. Those 215 days are broken up as follows: 185 instructional days; eleven days as holidays; ten annual leave (vacation) days; and nine workdays. Of those nine workdays, at least two must be optional workdays. Here is a summary of the current calendar legislation:


2012 Senate Bill 187 (Session Law 2012-145), applies beginning with the 2013-2014 school year, rewrites a portion of the calendar law (General Statute 115C-84.2).

School Calendars must meet the following requirements:

Start date no earlier than the Monday closest to August 26 and end date no later than the Friday closest to June 11 (unless a weather related calendar waiver has been approved, year-round school, charter school or cooperative innovative high school.) If waiver is approved the start date can be no earlier than the Monday closest to August 19. (Avery County Schools can start no earlier than August 22 unless the calendar law changes.)

There are no educational purpose waivers for exemption of the opening and/or closing dates.

All schools within the district must be closed all day for purposes of determining eligibility for a weather related waiver (delayed starts or early dismissals of two or more hours no longer apply).

Covers at least nine calendar months.

Must have a minimum of 185 days OR 1,025 hours of instruction.

Must have at least ten teacher workdays.

Local Boards shall designate two (2) workdays on which teachers may take accumulated vacation leave. Local Boards may designate the remaining workdays as days’ teachers may take accumulated vacation leave. Two days must be scheduled Optional Annual Leave days.

Have a minimum of 10 annual vacation leave days.

Have the same or an equivalent number of legal holidays occurring within the school calendar as those designated by the State Personnel Commission for State employees. That is currently nine workdays.

School shall not be held on Sunday.

Veterans Day shall be a holiday for all public school personnel and for all students enrolled in the public schools.

Over the last two years, in order to get our first semester in and finish high school exams before Christmas, we began to add an additional 20 to each school day for students. This additional time not only allowed us to finish the first semester before Christmas, it also provided us with extra time in case of inclement weather, which has been extremely helpful.

The current calendar legislation allows a school year to be defined as a minimum 185 instructional days or 1,025 instructional hours. Adding additional time to the school day does allow us the opportunity to use the 1,025 hours as a minimal school year and not be required to make-up some of the instructional time we miss. Choosing the 1,025 instructional hours minimum, requires us to subtract any instructional hours missed (i.e. delays or early dismissals) from the total hours.

Our calendar committee has been hard at work preparing a tentative calendar to present to our board of education for their consideration. Here is a summary of the recommended calendar:


16, 17 – Optional Teacher Workdays

18, 19 – Required Workdays

22 – First Day of School


5 – Labor Day Holiday


7 – Possible Homecoming Dismissal

8 – End of 1st Nine Weeks

25 – Parent Conference Day


11 – Veteran’s Day Holiday

23 – Annual Leave

24, 25 – Thanksgiving Holiday


21 – End of 2nd Nine Weeks

22, 28, 29, 30 – Annual Vacation Leave

23, 26, 27 – Christmas Holiday


2 – New Year’s Holiday

3 – Optional Teacher Workday

16- Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday


17 – End of 3rd Nine Weeks


17 – Easter Holiday

14, 18, 19, 20, 21 – Annual Vacation Leave


29 – Memorial Day Holiday


7 – Early Dismissal – Last Day of School

8 – Required Workday

9, 12 – Optional Teacher Workday

We would appreciate your suggestions on our calendar as we strive to do everything possible to develop a calendar that is best for our students, staff, parents and community. Feel free to give me a call at (828) 733-6006 or email me at davidburleson@averyschools.net if you would like to share a suggestion about the proposed calendar.

Have a great spring!