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Monday, November 29, 2010

FCPS school board considers changes to school calendar

The Fairfax County School Board is expected to consider a proposed calendar for the 2011-12 school year at its Dec. 2 meeting.

Sandy Evans, the Mason District representative on the school board, says one of her colleagues on the board plans to offer an amendment to remove Columbus Day as a holiday and add another day to the winter break (probably Dec. 22) or end the school year a day earlier in June.

The board is also considering making a request to the state to allow Fairfax County schools to start school the week before Labor Day, beginning in the 2012-13 school year. “The idea is to give our students a head start and a little extra time to prepare for spring testing and then get out a week earlier in the summer,” Evans says.

The so-called Kings Dominion Law, which generally prohibits Virginia public schools from starting before Labor Day, was passed in 1986 with strong lobbying from the state’s tourism industry. School systems must obtain state approval to start before Labor Day.

FCPS will survey parents, teachers, students, and other stakeholders on their views on starting the school year early. Several FCPS schools, including Stuart High School and Glasgow Middle School, had a modified calendar with an earlier start for several years, and Evans says, “families in those communities are in an ideal position to weigh in on this issue.” The survey is expected to be distributed by February.

A proposed calendar with a pre-Labor Day opening uses the 2011-12 school year as the model, but Evans says the board would seek the change for the 2012-13 year to provide enough time for stakeholder input, state consideration of the request, and community outreach to prepare for the change.

Evans wants to hear from constituents, via e-mail, on their views on how the calendar should be structured, including student holidays, breaks, and the start of the school year.


  1. Yeah! keep the kids in school on Columbus Day. The best holidays are when the parents are off work and the kids are in school - like Veterans Day.

  2. Any survey about school schedules MUST include some questions about the current policy of dismissing all elementary school students two hours early every Monday. A survey covering calendars and schedules would be biased if it did not include questions about the Monday schedule. Such a truncated survey would be an implicit statement by the Fairfax County school board that it rejects in advance any discussion of full day Mondays.