System uses time to ready

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Suzanne Fairley, standing inside her empty classroom at Andalusia Elementary School Tuesday, said she likes the extra time off during the summer. | Stephanie Nelson/Star-News




The extra two weeks of summer vacation will prove to be valuable to the Andalusia City School System.

A new law, voted on in the last legislative session, requires schools to start no earlier than Aug. 20 and end by May 24. It also reduces the amount of time students have for break.

Andalusia City Schools and Covington County Schools were each set to begin the 2012-2013 school year on Aug. 6, while Opp was originally set to begin on Aug. 3.

At Tuesday’s school board meeting in Andalusia, Superintendent Ted Watson said the extra time is proving to be beneficial to the system.

“If we were where we are now, this time last year, we’d be panicking,” Watson said. “We still have more hiring to do. We need a librarian at the elementary school, an English and a math teacher at the middle school and another math teacher at the high school.

“And two of those positions, we’re still searching for applicants,” he said. “So from an administrative end, this extra time is nice.”

It’s also nice for teachers like Suzanne Fairley, a special education teacher at AES. Tuesday, Fairley was at the school, planning her move to a new classroom.

“From an educational standpoint, I’m not sure how I feel about the extra time,” Fairley said. “How it effects students remains to be seen. We’ll have to evaluate it when they come back to see if the change is a positive or a negative.

“But, as a parent, I’m excited about the longer break,” she said. “My son is a sophomore in college whose been doing enrichment at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. He’s coming home the first of August, so those extra weeks mean I have time with him – which I’m thankful for.”

Students have vacation days on Labor Day, Veterans Day and three days for Thanksgiving, and Dec. 24 through Jan. 2 for Christmas break.

During the second semester, students will receive Martin Luther King Jr. day out of school and Spring Break will be March 25-29, baring any unforeseen weather days.

In-service dates, which are days teachers report to school, and students do not, include Aug. 13-17 and Jan. 2 and May 24.