Chatham BOE designates Nov. 12 as a day of reflection for students & staff

Pittsboro, NC – The Chatham County Board of Education has changed the academic calendars to make November 12 a workday for students and staff to spend as a day of reflection. Students will have the day off. The decision to extend the Veterans Day holiday came about to honor our military and to provide a day for staff and students to reflect and take care of their wellness while looking toward renewal of their efforts and energy.

“We know from conversations that this has been a very stressful time for our students and staff,” said Board of Education Chairman Gary Leonard. “We want to take this opportunity to recognize that and provide a day for everyone to assess where they are and get ready for the rest of the semester.”

The board also saw extending the November 11 Veterans Day holiday as a way to honor members of the military and their families.

The Siler City and Pittsboro Boys & Girls Club locations, as well as the YMCA at Perry Harrison Elementary School, will have child care available Nov. 12 for families who need it. The calendar change will not affect the district meeting its state law-mandated amount of instructional time.

“We want to acknowledge the work our staff and students have accomplished this year under difficult circumstances,” said Superintendent Dr. Anthony Jackson. “While we have returned to in-person learning, challenges remain for both staff and students and we see a wellness day as a way to help them take time for reflection and to take care of themselves.”

Staffing shortages have led to teachers having to use their planning periods to cover classes. In some cases, principals have helped cover gaps in staffing for preparing and serving meals. Bus drivers are sometimes having to run double routes. Nov. 12 will give students and staff members the opportunity to pause for a moment to reflect on their needs and goals for the rest of the semester.

“Chatham County Schools is a family,” Jackson said. “Families look out for one another, and that is what we need to do for our staff and students.”

Learning can take place beyond the walls of the classroom and have a lasting impact. It’s important that the district instill in our students and staff the value of taking care of themselves, both physically and mentally. We see this as an opportunity to reinforce that self-care is vital.

“We appreciate our staff members going to extraordinary lengths without complaint,” Jackson said. “I just want them to know their efforts are seen, but I am aware and want to let them know that I see those efforts coming at a cost to them. I want them to take care of themselves and know they are supported.”