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From the Desk of Avery County Schools Supt.: A Look at the Calendar

Dear Editor,

As the holiday season approaches, I want to thank you for assisting us in making the Avery County Schools a caring and inviting place for our students. It is an honor for me to work with a community that understands the mission of our school system is to help and support students and give them every opportunity to be a success. In my opinion, the most powerful statement about the success of any school system is what we do for our students every day and how we encourage them to be the best person they can be.

Supt. Burleson
Supt. Burleson

Remember, students watch what we do much more than they listen to what we say. Our actions speak volumes and it is incumbent upon us to model and display the character we feel is important in the world in which we live. If we want to make our world a better place, we must start with one child at a time because our children are the future of our world.

I realize none of us are happy with the results from last year’s testing program.   With a new curriculum, the re-norming of scores, and the raising of standards, along with adding Measures of Student Learning Tests, our scores give us a lot of room for growth. I have a tremendous amount of faith and confidence in our staff and students to do what is necessary to bring our scores to a level that make us proud as a community. We must remember, the testing program is only one measure of a student’s success, but it is a major part of the accountability program we now have in place.

I truly believe if we work together and remain committed to the task of educating children, nothing is impossible. Our goal should be to see every student, with the potential, be on grade level and to be prepared for the future that lies ahead for each of them.

High standards and expectations are visible in day-to-day activities for Avery County students. To further enhance these standards, each of our schools continue to offer specially designed programs to address academic needs of students as well as offering enrichment opportunities for students.

We are in the preparation stages of the calendar for the 2014-2015 school year. Two years ago the General Assembly of North Carolina approved a calendar modification that required 185 student days along with additional requirements. A few of these additional requirements are as follows:

NC State law mandates that students attend 185 days or 1025 hours. Please have your child attend every day.

Start Date – Earliest for our school system is the Monday closest to August 19

End Date – Latest is the Friday closest to June 15.

By law, school calendars must include 10 workdays for teachers in addition to 10 vacation days and 10 holidays. The exception to the 10 holidays occurs when Christmas falls on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday; then, there must be 11 holidays with only 9 workdays.

According to the law the only day that students are required to be out of school is Veteran’s Day in November.

Lastly, there must be 30 days between the time students are dismissed for summer vacation and the time when teachers return to school.

We will be surveying our school community to get ideas and suggestions regarding the new calendar that will be shared with our calendar committee. Our primary question will be to determine the most appropriate day to begin the year and the length for Spring break.

I wish for each of you a very blessed holiday season and my prayer is that you will have an opportunity to spend time with friends and family. Thank you again for what you mean to our school system. All you do is appreciated.


David Burleson