The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

December 26, 2012

School calendar

Starting earlier certainly worth a long, hard look

— The Kanawha County board of education approved a new, earlier than usual school calendar for 2013-14 last week.

School there will begin Aug. 9, 2013 and end May 16, 2014.

It passed by a 3-2 vote.

The benefits spelled out by board members who voted in favor of the proposal include:

— It will allow students more time in classes before they are expected to take the ACT, Advanced Placement or other standardized exams.

— It will allow students to complete the first semester before leaving for the holiday break. This year the first semester ends Jan. 8, which means many students must take final exams after an extended holiday break.

Raleigh County’s first semester runs from Aug. 17 to Jan. 10 with the second semester ending on June 3.

Opponents in Kanawha cited extremely hot weather in August and didn’t favor the idea of students finishing school and then being asked to return to take AP exams.

In our view, the positives outweigh the negatives, especially when notice has already been given in Kanawha to prior air conditioning problems and assurances have been made that their buildings will be made comfortable.

In fact, the calendar is one that should be implemented in our region.

With snow days constantly being an issue in our area each winter, getting about a week’s jump start in warmer climates should provide a good buffer against potential missed days.

Getting in the required 180 instructional days each school year should be a lot easier.

Each county in W.Va. sets its own school calendar.

It’s worth a look.

We hope that our area’s boards will at least take it into consideration.