CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Students will begin school in Kanawha County next year on Friday, Aug. 17, after county school board members unanimously approved the 2012-2013 academic calendar at a meeting Tuesday afternoon.
Students will have three weekdays off during Thanksgiving week, eight weekdays at Christmas and six weekdays for spring break, unless snow days cut the break one day short. The last day of school for students is scheduled for May 24, unless snow days push the last day closer to June.
Carol Thom, who coordinates the calendar for Kanawha County Schools, said many teachers like to start school on a Friday to get the rules and procedures over and done. That way, they can comfortably start in on curriculum the following Monday.
Spring break begins Easter weekend (March 30-31) and continues into the first week of April.
Kanawha teachers had a chance to review the new calendar early in the year, Thom said, when school officials considered moving the start date back more than an extra week in August. They did not vote on the calendar, however.
Also Tuesday, Kanawha school board members looked more in depth at results from last spring's WESTEST 2 standardized exam. Students took the exam in May, and most showed significant growth in reading and modest improvement in math.
In most math categories on the WESTEST 2 -- with the exception of eighth-graders -- individual students showed growth from last year's test to this year's.
For instance, Kanawha administrators looked at one fifth-grader's scores for 2009-2010 and compared them to his sixth-grade scores this year.
In reading, many students saw double-digit improvement from 2010 to 2011.
Still, board members and Bill Mullett, director of counseling and testing for Kanawha County Schools, talked about a disparity between the math scores of white and black students.