Additional School Calendar
Current legislation needs to be reviewed quickly, or else I
am afraid that many more schools could be moving to a year-round calendar in
2020-2021 or subsequent years. I hope
people understand that I want to help our schools AND our tourism community.
But a better compromise to current legislation is needed.
Please know that these are my personal feelings on this issue, as our board has not yet voted on any sort of resolution regarding the school calendar. But I feel time is of the essence, as schools are in the process of formulating their calendars for next school year, and I continue to worry that we will see even more schools move to a year-round school calendar.
In the meantime, some school systems are outright defying
the current school calendar legislation (http://bit.ly/school_systems_rebel).
Some public school systems have proposed changing their school calendars enough
to define themselves as “year round” or “modified year round (http://bit.ly/NewHanover1, http://bit.ly/NewHanover2). Other
schools are moving to full-fledged year-around school calendars. For the
2016–17 school year, LEAs identified 104 schools as year-round schools (Wake
County had 52), with additional schools starting to adopt year-round calendars
in subsequent years. According to information from the NC School Board
Association, just this past year, TWELVE new school systems moved to a
year-round format. Additional info on
school start and end dates can be found in the 9/5/2019 draft of the Report on
School Start and End Dates (http://bit.ly/start_end_dates).
One of the biggest problems with current school calendar
revolves around the need for high schools to finish the fall semester before
Christmas break. With more and more
students wanting to take (community) college classes, it is crucial that our
high schools better align with the colleges. Other
schools (below high school level) need to align with high schools because
parents often have children at multiple levels in school. Aligning school
calendars allows for easier scheduling of family vacations for students in K-12
all the way through college.
Below are potential advantages such a shift in the school
calendar can offer, as described in the 2017 legislative School Calendar
Flexibility Report: (http://bit.ly/calendar_flexibility_report)
before winter break (testing
closer to teaching of material, better retention, better scores);
school calendar with community college calendar (for taking classes,
graduating & starting college early, easier scheduling for families with
children in different schools/college);
scheduling of make-up days (without taking time from Christmas holidays, Spring
flexible placement of teacher workdays (for professional development, as make-up days in cases of
In this same School Calendar Flexibility report, one scenario
(Option D) for an adjusted calendar specifies a start date no earlier than
August 10th and an end date no later than May 31st. Why August 10th? Otherwise, in some calendar years it would be
practically impossible to squeeze in enough days to finish the semester without
cutting substantially into Christmas break, as shown by drafts of possible
School Calendars over the next 10 years:
http://travisday.com/calendar/drafts.pdf. (Teacher workdays can be moved around as
needed by administration without changing the school start and end dates for
However, we could do better than ending school by May 31st
for the school end date. A shift to the
start date on the front end would allow school to end by the Friday before
Memorial Day, so that Memorial Day weekend would officially kick off the summer
each year. Schools would not need to remain open past Memorial Day unless
they needed to make up days for catastrophic events like the hurricanes we have
experienced in recent years.
A shift in the calendar could result in semesters with 90
school days in the fall semester before Christmas, and with 90 days in the
Spring semester before Memorial Day. This plan would also result in
summers which are on average slightly longer than with school
calendars currently permitted under NC school calendar law.
Average Lengths of
School Calendar Law
School Calendar Flexibility
Report "Option D"
Support Our Schools
(Out by Memorial Day)
Details of school start/end dates under various calendar
options (and the resulting summer lengths) can be compared here: http://travisday.com/calendar/summer.pdf.
As of the writing of the calendar flexibility report in
2017, “Option D” was supported by all of the primary
Education Organizations. But on the
flip side, almost all of the Travel and Tourism
Industry Organizations supported leaving the calendar as is. “Save Our Summers – North Carolina preferred
the current school calendar law to options proposed by the Program Evaluation
Division but also
indicated that the organization was willing to discuss and
consider other options not proposed in this report.”
Perhaps an additional ‘Support Our Schools” option could be
a compromise that may deter other school systems across the state from tying to
move to some form of year-round format.
But for this to work, local businesses must be willing to give up an
average of 15.52 summer days in late August in Exchange for gaining an average
of 16.94 summer days right after Memorial Day. Is this tradeoff tolerable if it
will help support our public schools and school families, and help avoid a move
towards year-round schools? I hope it isn’t
too much to ask for businesses to give up two weeks of summer vacation at the
end of August, in exchange for gaining two weeks of summer vacation at the
beginning of June, right after Memorial Day weekend. If tourism organizations do not give a little
on this, they could risk losing a lot more if schools continue to move to some
form of a year-round calendar.