The December Fairfax VOTER features an article about the changing schedules in Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS). This newsletter for the League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area includes a description of the switch to full-day Mondays for the elementary schools.
On June 26, the Fairfax County School Board voted to stop dismissing elementary school students 2.5 hours early every Monday. This has increased instructional time for students and allowed for 20 minutes of daily recess. In addition, the change will guarantee dedicated planning time for elementary teachers totaling 300 minutes per week.
As of November 2014, a total of 63.8 positions were allocated to schools as a result of the implementation of full-day Mondays. Brandynn Reaves, a public information specialist with the Department of Communications and Community Outreach, provided me and the other authors of this article with the following information:
The allocation was primarily made as additional art/music/physical education (PE) teachers, but schools are able to utilize the positions in alternate ways to meet their individual needs (e.g., school-based technology specialist, world language teacher, etc.) assuming they are able to provide sufficient planning time for teachers.
There were 755.2 art/music/PE teacher positions budgeted in FY 2014 for elementary schools. The FY 2015 budget includes 741.2 art/music/PE teacher positions (prior to the 63.8 positions allocated as a result of full-day Mondays). The net reduction of 14.0 positions is the result of budget reductions due to the increase in class size and needs-based staffing reductions offset by growth in these positions due to student enrollment and demographic adjustments
The Voter article also describes the calendar changes this year and the school board’s decision to provide later start times for high schools and secondary schools next fall.