What are the best schedules for schools? What policies promote student health and wellness? These and other education topics are covered in this blog. In 2014 we sponsored a petition to the Fairfax County School Board to stop Monday early dismissals and provide more recess time.
On June 26, 2014, the Fairfax County School Board voted 10-1 to implement full-day Mondays for all elementary schools starting in September 2014. Students are no longer dismissed 2.5 hours early on Monday afternoons. The uniform elementary day increases instructional time and allows for at least 20 minutes of daily recess for children.
School systems should minimize early dismissals of students. It is foolish to have weekly early dismissals, a practice that was initiated in Fairfax County, Virginia, 40 years ago. Going back to the primary source–the school board minutes of 1971, it is significant to see that the school board never actually voted to have weekly early dismissals in all elementary schools. It is clear that parents were not given a chance to question this poorly conceived “decision.”
Editor – Virginia Fitz Shea
When my two children attended school, I spent time as both a volunteer and an advocate for reform. In 1995 I ran (unsuccessfully) in the first Fairfax County School Board election with the motto: “Improve the School Day, Vote for Ginger Shea.” For a few years I didn’t follow developments closely, but started commenting again in 2006 when the Standards of Accreditation were revised. I started Full Schooldays in 2011.
I am also working on several projects dealing with 17th Century English history. When not writing and doing research, I enjoy sailing on the Chesapeake Bay with my family.
Lisa Daniel is a strategic communications consultant with two decades of experience in Washington journalism and public affairs. She lives with her husband and two children in Fairfax County where she is active in community and schools issues. Drawing from her early career as an education reporter and textbook editor, Lisa occasionally writes about education issues. She is an advocate for protecting instruction time in our schools.
Maria and Michael Hudson are full time professionals and full time parents of four kids. Three of their children are elementary students within Fairfax Public County Schools with a fourth entering school in two years. They strongly believe that their kids should have a full day of instruction every school day including appropriate time for recess. They also believe that this can be done inexpensively and without sacrificing teacher planning time.