In fall 2015, we engaged in a comprehensive discussion and survey process to gather feedback from staff, parents, students and our community regarding potential shifts in our school calendar, school start times and other aspects of the school day in an effort to better serve students and families.
The Board of Education adopted the calendars for the 2017-2018 and 2018-19 school years at its meeting on January 28 of this year. Based on the 6,500 responses we received during the community engagement process through the online survey, listening sessions, and numerous conversations with students, staff and parents, the Calendar Committee has developed a series of additional recommendations regarding the school day start and end times, timing of student participation in co-curricular activities and homework-free breaks throughout the year.
We explored how we could not only have a calendar that met the goal of having finals before winter break, but also a school schedule that could have a positive impact on the health and well-being of both students and staff.
The Calendar Committee recommendations can be downloaded here.
Discussion remains ongoing regarding the recommended start and end times. Any variance in the start time could have larger financial and logistical considerations that must be explored before the Board of Education adopts school start and end times for the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school years.
This process was a result of requests from parents and staff to consider alternatives to the current calendar, following decisions by other districts to shift their school year start and end dates. We saw this as an opportunity to broadly engage our community in a transparent conversation about all options.
The new calendar will balance our community's desire to hold finals before winter break and start school at a reasonable time in August. Spring break remains the last week in March, our longstanding practice, and graduation moves to Memorial Day weekend, in line with other districts and allowing travel time for family.
Recommended changes to the school day start and end time take into account research that suggests students who get enough sleep can see better homework results, concentration and alertness. The recommended changes also would impact the timing of co-curricular activities and allow for homework breaks during the course of the year, when our students could truly be "off."
We are so proud to be part of a community that cares about the future of our schools and the well-being of our students. We believe it is our responsibility to prepare every student for success in college, careers and life, and we are committed to creating a schedule and setting that best fits that mission.
Approximately 6,500 individuals responded to our calendar survey, and feedback was overwhelming consistent across all groups regarding calendar options.
- Parents, students and staff preferred keeping a traditional calendar but moving finals before winter break or the collegiate-style calendar as their top choices. The option of a year-round calendar came in last among all surveyed groups.
- A slim majority of parents (51 percent) felt their children received adequate sleep under the current school schedule, while 61 percent of students indicated they struggle to wake up and get ready for the day with the current school start times.
- More than 70 percent of students, parents and staff indicated students should not have to face the stress of preparing for finals during winter break.
Full Survey Results can be viewed here: