You might not know this, but my children are a part of the Fairfax County School system. For this entire school year I have been running to Fairfax like a crazy person to try and pick up my girls on time from the bus stop. They had made it so that elementary school got out around 1:30 on Monday’s so that the rest of the day could be a sort of teacher work day. Finally the Fairfax County School Board approved a long awaited change to the calendar of its elementary schools. It will cut out the shortened Monday and it will allow 20 minutes of recess for the children. This plan will also not hurt teachers, because it will give them 300 minutes per week of planning. All of this will start this September when the kids go back to school.
A consistent length elementary day also provides an opportunity for a school year calendar that builds in things like holidays, a full two weeks for winter break, and administrative and teacher planning days throughout the year. The calendar change also solves the challenge of meeting the annual 990 instructional hour requirement in state law, which Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) does not meet under the current shortened Monday schedule. Instead, FCPS has met the state requirement of a 180-day calendar, which resulted in sometimes having to add days to the end of the school year to make up missed days due to inclement weather. The new uniform elementary schedule will eliminate making up inclement weather days at the end of the school year if fewer than 13 days are missed. This change is a great advantage to teachers, because it also will create job openings in areas like World Language and other instructional subjects to make more planning time for the teachers in the schools.
Here is what the Chairman of the School Board had to say about this change:
“After surveying both parents and teachers, we saw that parents overwhelmingly supported this change—and as soon as possible,” said Ilryong Moon, School Board Chairman. “In addition, elementary teachers have consistently cited in our working conditions survey that they need guaranteed, self-directed time for planning.”
Details on the new 2014-15 calendar can be found here:
*Image came from Google images*
*All of the information above came from an email sent by Fairfax County Schools*