Developing the 2018–2019 School Calendar
In case you missed it, below is a message from Chief Operating Officer Andrew Zuckerman regarding the development of the 2018–2019 school calendar. The message was emailed to staff on Tuesday, Sept. 19.
It’s that time of year again when we develop the school calendar for the following school year. Today (Tuesday, Sept. 19), the Board of Education’s Policy Management Committee received an update on the calendar development process and provided us feedback on different calendar scenarios. You can view the meeting materials HERE and presentation HERE.
Since last year, school districts across Maryland have been discussing how best to design their school calendars given the new time constraints placed on the length of the school year. The current 2017–2018 school year is the first school year operating under these new rules, which state that school cannot start before Labor Day and must end before June 15.
Last school year, these new rules were introduced after many districts had already begun developing their school calendars, resulting in different school calendars than originally envisioned. In our case, we had to go back to the drawing board after already developing calendar options, and the time constraints made it difficult to adhere to those original plans.
This year, despite having a head start on planning, we still have fewer days to work with than in years past to accommodate our instructional traditions, such as having 184 instructional days, and our non-instructional traditions, such as a full week for Spring Break, within a compressed time frame. As we design next year’s calendar, we start with several requirements from the State:
- September 4–June 14: the permissible time frame for instruction
- 180: the minimum number of instructional days required
- 15: the number of State mandated days that schools must be closed between September 4 and June 14
- 3: the number of snow make-up days required at the end of the year (before June 14)
Once the calendar accounts for these State required elements, a total of six days remain that can be programmed for other, non-required educational or operational priorities, such as Spring Break or instructional days above the state minimum of 180. How to allocate these days among our multiple calendar priorities is our challenge.
To provide feedback on how best to structure the calendar, we have brought together a workgroup of school system staff, including teachers, supporting services staff, and administrators. We are also meeting with external stakeholders, such as the MCCPTA, the NAACP, and the Montgomery County Faith Community Advisory Council, and we have asked for feedback from each of our employee associations—MCEA, SEIU, and MCAAP. In addition, we will be doing focus groups across the County to hear different perspectives on how best to design the calendar.
We look forward to engaging with you through this process. If you have ideas, questions, or comments, please do not hesitate to e-mail me at Chief_Operating_Officer@mcpsmd.org. In addition, I will be sending future communications on the calendar development process to keep everyone in the loop on what is happening in this area.
Chief Operating Officer
Montgomery County Public Schools