Ask SAM

Q: I am trying to get an answer about why the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School System’s Exceptional Children Department decided to take the fair day away from the special needs children in the school district. This has been a tradition for 20 years or more. They usually have it on a Wednesday morning when it is not crowded and people in wheelchairs can get around easier. It provides children with social interaction that they need, and it is a time for reunions when teachers can see their former students and students can see their former teachers.

M.J.

Answer: This year, the Dixie Classic Fair’s Special Education Day, Oct. 9, conflicts with an already-scheduled early release day for Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.

“We know every year that the students in our Exceptional Children’s Division enjoy the fair, that is the very reason why it is something we have tried to make happen,” said Brent Campbell, a spokesman for the school system. “However, this year scheduling conflicts with the district, high school testing, and the fair could not be avoided.”

The school system does not set the date for the event, he said; Dixie Classic Fair officials do, and the date covers students from multiple counties and school districts, not just WSFC school students. “They all are invited to take advantage of the discounted/special day,” Campbell said. “Our school calendars are scheduled roughly two years in advance, and often times the fair schedule is not out when our Board of Education approves the academic calendar. Because we do early release days, and because we must schedule them near the end of a quarter, and strategically place them for a host of many reasons, Oct. 9 was the best option for an early release day.”

The school system was not aware at the time of that decision that the fair intended to schedule the special fair day on the same date, according to Campbell.

“Unfortunately during an early release day we cannot get students to the fair and back to school safely and in time for an early release,” Campbell said. “We also do not control the fair schedule. At this point, we cannot change our academic calendar and we do hate that the fair’s special day is on that same day. I know many other districts also take advantage of the day, and any change from the fair would impact far more than just our district. It is unfortunate that the dates didn’t align this year, but we hope they will in the future. It is certainly not something that was done intentionally by us or the Dixie Classic Fair Officials.”

Q: I have several boxes of books I’d like to donate, but places I formerly took books are either not accepting them at all or in small numbers. Any suggestions?

C.G.

Answer: The Shepherd’s Center of Greater Winston-Salem, at 1700 Ebert St., is a good option. They take hardback and paperback books, CDs, DVDs, LPs and VHS tapes. They do not take magazines or encyclopedias. Donations can be taken there from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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