FCPS Master Calendar & Early Release Mondays
The FCPS Board is getting ready to entertain a potential Master Calendar change for the division which would affix our school year to 180 days and eliminate early release ‘half-day Mondays’ in elementary school, a practice in place since the 1970’s. Please note, Deputy Assistant Superintendent Dan Parris and a working group of principals and staff developed sample Master Calendars taking into account a myriad of issues.
The working group said this could be done for the coming 2014-15 school year. Originally, the working group had planned on a recommendation for 2015-16, however there are some changes which must be made in any event to address State Accreditation and other matters (see below). The question, thus, is whether to do incremental changes for 2014-15 and again more changes the following year or to just make the changes for the 2014-15 school year.
The proposed changes to the Master Calendar are reasonable to examine considering the many associated benefits – including:
Elementary teachers will find a significant improvement in unencumbered, teacher-directed planning time. This will greatly assist the current problems teachers face regarding work burden and inadequate time to grade work, plan, etc. Principals from each of the elementary, middle and high school levels participated with staff in the working group and kept a focus on remediating the lack of adequate teacher-directed planning time throughout the course of its work. I became aware of State Accreditation issues shortly after becoming elected and have been working toward improving the Master Calendar and fixing the workload and unencumbered time for teachers with FCPS staff ever since.
1. A standard calendar school year is defined by the Virginia Board of Education to be 180 days (or 990 hours).
2. The additional days at the end of this 2013-14 school year, plus the change of some holidays or half-days to full instruction days, are a direct result of FCPS’ inability to meet Virginia Board of Education mandates
As we learn more, we will share it with you either through this newsletter and/or the Fairview PTA Facebook page. Not a member, please request to join.