Board decides on calendar for 23-24 school year

Board+members+raise+their+hands+in+support+of+the+proposal+for+next+years+calendar.+The+calendar+will+have+an+Aug.+28+first+day+and+June+13+last+day.

Photo courtesy of MCPSTV

Board members raise their hands in support of the proposal for next year’s calendar. The calendar will have an Aug. 28 first day and June 13 last day.

The Board of Education decided unanimously on Tuesday, Dec 6 on the calendar for the 2023-2024 school year. The calendar includes 182 days of instruction and will start Monday, Aug. 28, 2023. Most breaks will stay the same, with half days on Monday and Tuesday the week of Thanksgiving, and week-long breaks during winter and spring break. The school year will end on Thursday, June 13, 2024.

The calendar was one of four options that the Board had considered. Other options had included a two-week winter break or a full week off during Thanksgiving, however, all four options had 182 days of school. Options with longer mid-year breaks compensated with earlier starts to school, including one option which slated an Aug 17 first day of school. Last days of school varied between June 7, 2024, and Jun 18, 2024.

A survey sent out to the MCPS community about the four options received over 10,000 respondents, up from 4,300 last year. The number of student responses also increased by 1000%. 38% of respondents chose Option D, which had an Aug 28 first day and June 18 last day, and closely resembles this year’s calendar.

The calendar was constructed with opportunities for professional development in mind, as MCPS seeks to follow through on recommendations from its antiracism audit. Three such days were included in the calendar, on Oct 10, Feb 16 and Apr 22.

In a new addition to the calendar, professional development instructional days will also debut. On such days, one level of schools (elementary, middle or high) will have a non-instructional day with teachers receiving professional development. The other two levels will have regular instruction. There are three such days scheduled: Nov. 10, Feb. 15 and May 15.

During such days, MCPS is also planning outside-of-school activities which include art, recreational and academic enrichment for lower grades. For high school students, activities will include college applications and career readiness help.

In the past, we looked at the school calendar as an operational type item. And it still is, it directs what the school day and school year looks like. But I also want us to look at the power in what this calendar does to support the innovation we need to embrace.”

— Superintendent Monifa McKnight

Feedback from the community encouraged fewer learning disruptions to help improve consistency and predictability.

“There are many educators … who know what it is to ramp up and say ‘I got a good momentum with my students,’ and then all of sudden, there’s a day away,” Executive Director of the Office of District Operations Douglass Hollis said.

Next year’s calendar features three straight weeks of instruction in October, four weeks between Thanksgiving and winter break, three weeks in March and three weeks between late April and early May.

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