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- Tropical Storm Zeta forms, on path to approach Gulf Coast
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The hurricane shifted the fall semester for local districts
WILMINGTON — Hurricane Florence scrambled local school calendars, including test dates and the end of the fall semester. At most Southeastern North Carolina schools, students will be sitting down for mid-year tests as late as February.
In New Hanover County Schools, testing dates were moved to Jan. 30 through Feb. 5.
Brunswick County Schools will hold its K-2 middle-of-the-year assessment Jan. 29 through Feb. 20, and its mCLASS reading assessment for K-3 students Jan. 17 through Feb. 8.
High school testing will happen Dec. 17 through 21 for Brunswick County Early College High School, and Jan. 24 through 30 for traditional high schools.
With most testing falling well after winter break this year, parents might want to take steps to help students keep their studies in mind.
“We always want parents to have an active role in their child’s education,” Brunswick County Schools spokesman Daniel Seamans wrote in an email. “While they are enjoying family time over the holidays, take a little time to talk about their school work, what they are studying, and get engaged and excited about the subject matter. A little extra support will carry over into the new year and have a positive impact when it comes time to test.”
In Pender County, the fall semester was extended from Jan. 18 to Feb. 8.
That means final report cards will now be distributed on Feb. 18. The fall semester will encompass 78 days, roughly 12 fewer days than the average fall semester, according to Pender County Schools spokeswoman Miranda Ferguson.
But the biggest question around testing after Florence has yet to be answered: What happens with end-of-year tests?
The N.C. Department of Public Instruction grades schools on an “A” through “F” scale at the end of each year. The scale is heavily weighted by student performance on end-of-grade (EOG) and end-of-course (EOC) tests.
With dozens of instructional days lost to the storm, local school leaders have voiced concerns about harm to student — and school — scores. The State Board of Education gave a waiver to some storm-affected districts in October to release K-3 students from some reading testing, but no board actions or legislation have yet addressed EOG/EOC tests.
The StarNews has reached out to the State Superintendent’s office for comment.
Reporter Cammie Bellamy can be reached at Cammie.Bellamy@StarNewsOnline.com.