How FCPS Develops Its School Year Calendar

Feedback from a variety of sources is considered as the school calendar is developed

Provide Feedback on Draft School Year Calendar Options

FCPS is seeking community feedback on draft calendar options for the 2023-24, 2024-25, and 2025-26 school years. Share your thoughts by Tuesday, January 31, at 1 p.m.

Calendar Development Process

In an annual planning process, Fairfax County Public Schools develops the school year calendar for the following year. We are committed to maintaining a transparent process, as we work to build a calendar that is inclusive and equitable. Community input is an important part of this work. 

Calendar Framework

The development of the calendar is guided by a framework that clearly outlines the factors FCPS has to consider when creating the school year calendar. Those factors include the law, community input, superintendent priorities, school board opinions, and aligning with surrounding counties. Learn more about each of these factors below.

Factors FCPS Considers When Creating a Calendar  

We will follow the law.

We gather input from the community. 

  • FCPS established a Calendar Feedback Committee with a diverse group of community stakeholders. The committee is charged with providing input on what they believe should be included in the school calendar.
  • Feedback from a Calendar Survey and Calendar Webinar are also considered.

We consider the superintendent’s priorities.

  • Alignment with Strategic Plan goals and ongoing commitment to a deep and authentic sense of belonging for each and every member of the FCPS community.
  • High quality teaching and learning experiences.
  • Adequate staffing to maintain school division operations.
  • Professional development opportunities for educators to extend and deepen their learning in support of our mission driven division work.

We listen to Fairfax County School Board members.

  • The Board’s top priorities include creating a multi-year calendar that allows for forward planning, aligns with surrounding divisions, provides instructional continuity, is data driven, follows the law, and respects religious holidays.

Absentee data is reviewed.

Staff and student absentee data will help determine the days when significant absenteeism might impact school division operations.
 

Another consideration is alignment with surrounding jurisdictions.

With many FCPS employees living outside of Fairfax County, we recognize the need to align our calendar with surrounding counties, when possible, to avoid impacting operations. 

Community Input

FCPS uses input from the community to help develop the school year calendar.

  • Calendar Survey - A calendar survey was emailed to FCPS parents/caregivers, employees, and students in grades 7-12. The deadline to submit the survey was December 1, 2022. 
  • Webinars - During two webinars hosted on December 1, 2022, we shared information on how the calendar is developed and invited participants to provide feedback on a series of questions related to this process.

 

Draft Calendar Options for 2023-24 School Year

Blue Calendar Options
Blue Calendar SY 2023-24, Blue Calendar SY 2024-25, Blue Calendar SY 2025-26

Orange Calendar Options
Orange Calendar SY 2023-24, Orange Calendar SY 2024-25, Orange Calendar SY 2025-26

Green Calendar Options
Green Calendar SY 2023-24, Green Calendar SY 2024-25, Green Calendar SY 2025-26

Purple Calendar Options
Purple Calendar SY 2023-24, Purple Calendar SY 2024-25, Purple Calendar SY 2025-26

Accessible Text of Presentation from Webinar

Calendar Framework

State and Federal Law Calendar Framework

• Must have a secular (non-religious) reason to establish a holiday.

• Must provide 180 days or 990 hours of instruction.

Superintendent Priorities Calendar Framework

• Alignment with Strategic Plan goals and ongoing commitment to a deep and authentic sense of belonging for each and every member of the FCPS community.

• High quality teaching and learning experiences.

• Adequate staffing to maintain school division operations.

• Educators have professional development opportunities to extend and deepen their learning in support of our mission driven division work.

School Board Priorities Calendar Framework

• Each Board member shares what they believe are the most important considerations for the school calendar with FCPS leadership.

• The Board has final approval of the calendar.

Alignment with Surrounding Jurisdictions Calendar Framework FCPS recognizes the need to align our calendar with surrounding counties, when possible, to ensure those staff are able to work when FCPS has school in session.

Student, Staff, and Community Input Calendar Framework

• FCPS’ Calendar Survey – check your email for the link.

• Data collected during two live webinars on Thursday, December 1, at: Noon 6 p. m.

• School Board meeting public comment.

• Calendar Feedback Committee with broad representation.

Feedback Opportunity

Live Polling • Look for the pop-up window. • The moderator will read each question, along with the choices, and will pause to allow you time to respond. • Select one poll option and submit.

Question 1 - What is your preference for matching the start and end of the year?

1. Begin two weeks before Labor Day (around Monday, August 22) and end the first or second week of June (around June 7-14)

2. Begin one week before Labor Day (around Monday, August 29) and end the second or third week of June (around June 14 to June 21)

3. No preference

4. Other

Question 2 - What is your preference on the length of these breaks?

1. Long winter and spring breaks, requiring a later end to the school year.

2. Shorter winter and spring breaks, allowing an earlier end to the school year.

3. Shorter winter break only, allowing a slightly earlier end to the school year.

4. Shorter spring break only, allowing a slightly earlier end to the school year.

5. No preference.

Question 3 - How important is it to you that student holidays align with neighboring counties?

1. Extremely important

2. Somewhat important

3. Somewhat unimportant

4. Extremely unimportant

Question 4 - What is your preference for how FCPS schedules time for teacher workdays, school planning, and staff development?

1. Five days during the school year, each with a three-hour early release.

2. Five days during the school year, each with a two-hour early release.

3. Two full days, which would be designated as student holidays.

4. No preference.

Question 5 - If FCPS were to add days off to the calendar, which option would you like FCPS to choose:

1. New days off get added to the calendar AND the school year gets extended by the same number of days.

2. New days off get added to the calendar AND the school year does not get extended. Rather, the same number of added days off get swapped with days FCPS has had off in the past.

Next Steps Calendar Framework

• December:

     ⚬ FCPS Calendar Survey -- Live webinars

     ⚬ Calendar Feedback Committee meets.

• January 13: Draft calendar(s) for 2023-24 will be posted to BoardDocs and shared publicly.

• January 17: Draft calendar(s) reviewed at a School Board work session.

• January 31: Draft calendar(s) reviewed at a School Board work session.

• February 9: School Board scheduled to approve a calendar for 2023-24.

Please complete the FCPS Calendar Survey.

Thank you for your participation!

Timeline

  • November 14 - December 1: Calendar Survey open.
  • December 1: Calendar Webinar at noon and 6 p.m.
  • December 1 and 12: Calendar Feedback Committee Meetings.
  • December: Staff develops draft calendar(s).
  • January 17: Draft calendar(s) presented at School Board Work Session. View documents on Boarddocs.
  • January 26: Draft calendar(s) presented as new business at School Board meeting.
  • January 31: School Board Work Session.
  • February 9: School Board votes on the 2023-24 School Year Calendar.

Final Decision

The School Board votes to approve the school year calendar. That calendar will be in effect July 1 to June 30.
 

Questions? Please contact the Office of Communication and Community Relations at [email protected]