FCPS drafts new school year calendar

Community gives feedback on proposed school calendar changes


Natalie Vu

FCPS has spent the past few months asking for community input in order to draft a new calendrer for the 2023-2024 school year. The final draft was approved on Feb. 10.

In an annual planning process, Fairfax County is working to develop a revised calendar for the following school year. To factor into the decision, FCPS has asked the community for input on different draft calendar options.

Factoring in legal requirements as well as input from the superintendent, the school board, and the community, the FCPS calendar development process has several stages spanning over multiple months.

This year, the superintendent’s priorities for the calendar include opportunities for sufficient staffing, quality teaching and learning experiences, and a welcoming community.

On Nov. 14, a calendar survey opened for FCPS parents, employees, and students in grades 7-12. This survey was used to help the Fairfax County School Board in the development of drafts of calendars for the next school year. FCPS stopped taking feedback on Feb. 6.

Shortly after, a community feedback form was opened in which responders could give their thoughts on four different color coded calendar options for the 2023-2024 school year; blue, green, orange and purple. The school board will publish its final decision later this month.

All four drafts fulfill the state requirement of 180 days of instruction. They all include a week-long spring break from Mar. 24-30, Veterans Day as a student holiday, a three-day Thanksgiving break, and religious and cultural observance days.

The blue calendar resembles the current FCPS calendar with the first day of school on Aug. 21 and will have two full weeks of winter break.

The green option contains a later start to the school year, starting Aug. 28 but will have a shorter winter break, starting Thursday Dec. 21 until Jan 1.

The orange calendar will have the same shortened winter break as the green calendar, but will also start Aug. 21.

“I’d rather start school earlier because if it starts later, it will end later which gives the sense of a shorter summer,” junior Caitlyn Lee said. “But also because of the time that we’re missing school over the summer, they’re trying to shorten winter break. I feel like that would also cause problems because we’re so used to the two weeks of winter break and I think we really need it as a buffer between winter and new year.”

All drafts, except for the purple calendar, have the same number of professional development days. Purple will have only 117 student days with three additional professional development days.

“I chose the purple calendar in the survey,” Lee said. “It ends at a reasonable time and has a two week winter break. I just hope the school board feels the same.”