FCCPTA 2018-19 Calendar Survey

The FCCPTA ran a survey about the 2018-19 calendar.  We received over 5,500 responses.  Wowza!  Jason  created
Based on the results, Jason Morgan, our Budget Chair, created a report. It is filled with charts and many, many comments:

 

Key Recommendations

  • The FCPS Board’s initiative to introduce Calendar D as a new business item at the December 7th regular meeting garnered the most support from respondents. https://www.fcps.edu/news/fairfax-county-school-board-consider-2018-19-calendar-starting-school-august-28-2018. Of all the calendar options, this was the one with the highest level of support for 2018-2019.
  • Post-SOL school days should be kept to a minimum. Thus, when changes are made to move the calendar forward (as they were for the 2017-2018 school year), SOL dates should not automatically be moved forward as well.
  • Broad community input on potential calendar changes should be elicited as early in the planning cycle as practicable.
  • When possible, it would be ideal to plan calendars more than one year in advance to allow for plans to be made with certainty.
  • Changes should be made incrementally when practicable. One or two small changes per year, leading up to a grand vision of the “perfect” calendar, would be easier for community members to warm up to than significant changes made all at once.
  • Efforts to allow FCPS to start before Labor Day on a permanent basis, not through a limited waiver, should continue. Although the community as a whole is only moderately more supportive of this move than against it, teachers who responded to the survey are significantly more supportive of pre-Labor Day start dates. More importantly, it does not make sense to wait until after a school year with a heavy snowfall to have extra days for study before events such as AP test dates built into the calendar. The extra days for study need to be available during heavy snowfall years.
  • Based on comments submitted by respondents, FCPS has an opportunity to better inform parents and guardians about the importance of teacher work days and early release days. This survey did not ask non-teacher respondents about early release days. A number of respondents, however, noted concerns about early release days in their comments. Additional communication, such as an overview of what teachers are doing and learning during these days, could help alleviate concerns about their value.
  • The benefits and drawbacks of having blackout dates should be given close scrutiny. A number of comments expressed concern about these.
  • Continue to be mindful of potential dates that have significance for families of different faiths. As challenging as it is, there is strong support in Fairfax County to make accommodations where practicable.