ASK DPS: Volunteer opportunities for end of school year

Apr. 07, 2014 @ 11:17 AM

Q: Are there any school volunteer opportunities coming up toward the end of the school year?
A: You’d better believe it! Toward the end of the school year, each of our schools will need volunteer help in proctoring exams. State policies now require proctors to be present to ensure accountability during high school final exams and all end-of-grade and end-of-course tests. Durham Public Schools needs volunteers to help proctor beginning as early as May 5 at some schools.
There are two ways that you may volunteer: directly through your school’s volunteer coordinator or, if you would like to help where there’s the greatest need, online through the DPS website. Go to and click on “Register to Volunteer” to submit an application. Make sure you select “Test Proctor” as one of the activities that interests you. Once you have cleared a standard volunteer background check a school representative will offer you a volunteer assignment.
All proctors are required to attend a one-hour training session. If you have any questions about the process or would like to confirm that you are already registered to volunteer, contact Regina Nickson, DPS community engagement liaison, and she will be happy to check for you.
Q: What allowed the Durham Public Schools Board of Education to waive some of our school makeup days?
A: North Carolina law gives school boards two options for meeting a minimum amount of instructional time for students in a school year: either at least 1,025 total instructional hours or at least 185 days. In adopting a school calendar for 2013-14, DPS chose the first option. Due to the length of our school day, DPS students were scheduled to attend for a minimum of 1,075 hours, exceeding the state requirement by 50 hours.
Our students missed seven days of school (six for year-round schools) thanks to inclement weather and hazardous road conditions. DPS had enough extra hours to cover three missed instructional days while still exceeding the 1,025 hour requirement. Therefore, our school board decided to waive them. Following that decision, we were closed for another two days. Year-round schools made up those days during the intersession on March 31 and April 1 as previously scheduled, while the traditional calendar will be extended by two days with classes ending on June 12. (Graduation dates, however, are not affected.)
All of us in Durham Public Schools are grateful that spring has finally arrived — though perhaps not quite as grateful as our district’s parents!
Q: Speaking of graduation dates, why are you providing a limited number of guest tickets to graduates? We have a large family!
A: To ensure adequate space and comfort, most of our graduation ceremonies take place at Cameron Indoor Stadium at Duke University and McLendon-McDougald Gymnasium at N.C. Central University. As we’ve seen in many other places over the years, Duke and NCCU have decided to heighten security; for example, they will be checking bags upon entrance just as they would at a football or basketball game. They have also asked that all persons entering the ceremonies have a ticket. To ensure that the facilities aren’t overcrowded, we are allotting each student 10 tickets.
The good news is that not every student will need 10 tickets, and we expect extra tickets to be available after the initial distribution. Our high schools will communicate with their seniors the ticket distribution process and how they intend to work with families with special needs or requests. Please contact the school with any questions.
Graduation is always a special day. We want to make sure it’s a safe and secure one as well.

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