Following a recommendation from Superintendent Dr. Sharon I. Byrdsong, the School Board voted Wednesday to change this year’s academic calendar to provide additional days off and unencumbered planning days for teachers.
The board also voted to approve Superintendent Byrdsong’s recommendation to provide compensation for teachers who substitute in other teachers’ classrooms during their planning time or who provide instructional coverage for students when a classroom of students must be divided among teachers. Additionally, the board approved a recommendation to provide clerical support for school nurses.
Changes to the academic calendar include:
Extending Thanksgiving break and the Memorial Day holiday weekend. NPS will be closed on November 24 and May 27.
Changing three scheduled early release days on January 13, February 17, and March 17 to full in-person student learning days.
Changing January 14, February 18, and March 18 to full, unencumbered teacher workdays with students not reporting to school.
Allowing teachers to work remotely or at school on those full, unencumbered teacher workdays.
Changing April 18 from an asynchronous virtual learning day for students to a full, unencumbered teacher workday with no asynchronous virtual learning requirements.
School buildings will close during the winter and spring breaks, meaning schools will not be open for business, and 12-month employees assigned to schools will have the option of taking vacation leave if they choose not to work during these breaks.
Norfolk Public Schools will provide discretionary funds to all schools to support mental health activities for teachers and staff, as well as professional development and training opportunities focused on classroom management and student discipline.
Finally, part-time clerical assistants will be hired to support school nurses with paperwork and other clerical duties.
“Attracting and retaining highly qualified and effective teachers remains a top priority for NPS, as well as our commitment to provide a division-wide culture of caring,” said Superintendent Byrdsong. “We care deeply about the physical and mental health of our teachers and all of our staff. We hope these additional days to take care of personal matters, enjoy family, or just relax, as well as extra time dedicated to instructional planning, provide the physical and mental breaks that our teachers and other staff need.”