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Troy City Schools delays start of classes

The school board voted Wednesday to push back the start of classes for Troy City Schools students from Aug. 20 to Aug. 24.

“This will give us time to make sure we have everything in place,” said Superintendent Cynthia Thomas. “It also allows our teachers to have more time to train on the Schoology platform.”

The school system will be utilizing the new platform for virtual learning in the 2020-2021 school year, and Thomas said teachers are still learning how to best utilize the platform.

Approximately 30 percent of the students in grades K-8 have opted for the virtual learning program for the first nine weeks, Thomas said. In the high school, 107 of 520 students have opted for virtual learning.

“I did think we would have more students in the virtual program,” Thomas said after Wednesday’s called board meeting. “This tells me that from an economic standpoint parents needs kids to be back in school.”

The Aug. 24 start date tracks with Pike County Schools, which also start that day.

“I do know that some school systems have pushed back their state dates to September 1 or even September 8, but I’m not sure how they’re getting in the (required) hours,” Thomas told the school board members on Wednesday. “I’m guessing they either have no breaks during the school year or are going to school longer, even into June.”

The state requires that districts provide at least 1,080 hours of instruction, although calendars can be shortened to 170 days this year. Thomas said she consulted with administrators, who felt teachers and students would prefer to keep the regularly scheduled breaks rather than delay the start of classes even further.

“We may have to revisit (the calendar) at some point, depending on what happens with the COVID data,” she said.

Jonathan Cellon, board president, said it is important for parents and the community to understand the requirements faced by the district. “That’s important to know because there’s been a lot of conversation about the start of school,” he said. “People need to know about the 1080 rule and the tradeoffs.”

In other business on Wednesday, the board:

  • Approved the hiring of a mental health officer for the district, effective Oct. 1. “We received funds through the CARES Act to pay for this new position,” Thomas said, adding that the district will begin advertising for the position.
  • Approved the transfer of Casey Moore, from English teacher to assistant principal at Charles Henderson High School.
  • Approved the hire of Khadija Neely, English teacher at CHHS.
  • Approved the resignation of Jamie Sutherland, custodian at CHHS.
  • Approved the hire of Davarkeyon McKinney, custodian at CHHS.
  • Approved the resignation of Calvin Scott, instructional aide for CHHS and Charles Henderson Middle School.