Responding to Questions about the school calendar, Joan Miller commented:
FCPS needs to adopt upcoming school calendars before a March-April timeframe. Loudoun County, for example, determined next year’s school calendar months ago. A family’s summer plans, including booking vacations, airfare and summer camps, often have to made before then to insure competitive rates and openings. These plans must also be made in conjunction with parents requests for time off at their workplaces. Knowing well in advance that children will not be going back to school until after Labor Day, for example, allows families to benefit from the reduced rates offered at many tourist venues and beach rentals during the week before Labor Day.
Understanding that an upcoming school year is inevitable, what beneficial purpose is served for the school district and its families to delay the determination of that calendar until spring?
Loudoun County adopted its calendar in December. I had earlier praised Loudoun for considering four different calendars as options. This is a more helpful way of getting feedback from the community than the method of simply presenting one calendar and allowing a bit of time for comments before the vote.
I think that it made sense for Fairfax to allow extra time this year to evaluate the major changes made during the current school year before adopting next year’s calendar. However, this year’s evaluation was lacking in outreach to parents.
One other advantage of delaying the vote this year is for the school board members to consider the number of snow days we have had. School was canceled again today due to icy roads and sidewalks. The weather forecast indicates that Thursday might be yet another snow day.
In recent years the school board included 183 days in the student calendar. This year this was reduced to 180 days. The proposed 2015-16 calendar also includes only 180 days. Shouldn’t the school board reconsider this shortened calendar?
The agenda item for the calendar vote does not specifically discuss the issue of the number of days in the school year. Yet it is an important issue that deserves careful consideration by the public.
The agenda item indirectly addresses the length of the school year by describing the number of days that could be missed due to inclement weather. However, the calculations involved in this determination are not shown.
When I took math in school, the teachers would always remind us, “Show your work!”
It would be helpful in considering the calendar if detailed explanations could be included about how the number of hours in the school year are calculated.