2020-2021 Calendar Survey
Hello Team Middlesex!
Nothing says Happy New Year like next year’s school calendar! We’ve worked hard to build a draft that reflects the feedback we’ve received, including the following highlights:
- 176 instructional days
- 1,128 instructional hours
- 10 days of winter break
- Increased professional development including 2 full days and 4 half days of time for teachers during the instructional year (in addition to days during pre-service week before school starts)
- An aligned Spring Break with other localities in the region
- An August 24th start date with the year ending before Memorial Day
We have developed two options, both identical in structure. Option 1 starts before Labor Day, and Option 2 starts after Labor Day. Once you’ve taken a look at both options, we’d love to know your opinion. Please access a very short survey here to let us know which option you prefer (we will collect survey responses through Thursday, January 9th:
Reasons we have considered a pre Labor Day opening:
- Most regional neighbors have moved or are moving in this direction which impacts athletic schedules, transportation, scheduling with regional consortia (like Bridging Communities, CBGS, dual enrollment through RCC). The VHSL already dictates that sports begin August 1st, and MHS reports there is a significant number of kids who are not able to participate until we start bussing them in September. They believe many kids don't even come out for those sports because they can't get to practice. Given the challenge we've had fielding some teams (no JV football this year, etc), many at MHS believe this change would support more involvement in activities.
- Standardized AP assessments are pre-scheduled (we can't alter those dates locally) and our increasing AP population is two to three weeks behind their counterparts in academic preparation (majority of VA schools start before Labor Day, many even earlier than the Aug. 24 we are exploring).
- Many of our educators and parents express an intuitive perspective that student disposition toward learning is different the farther we go into the summer (June) than it is in the beginning of the year. They believe an earlier start will capitalize on the natural rhythm of how students experience learning in school.
- Finally, if we see this as an inevitable change (and many do) in the future, moving to a pre Labor Day start in 2021-22 after such a later year next year (June 11 end) would be very challenging for families. Better to do it this year.
Since the pre Labor Day start would be a shift for our community, we are surveying local businesses to get their perspective on how such a change might impact them. We are also surveying students at the secondary level regarding both the pre Labor Day start and their opinions on the best time to hold graduation.
The results of this comprehensive review of public opinion will be presented to the school board during the January 13th meeting, at which time I intend to bring a draft for the board to officially approve.
Thanks for your continued partnership!
Peter M. Gretz, Ed.D.