At the March 30 meeting, the Fayetteville Board of Education unanimously approved revisions to the school district’s 2017-18 calendar. The changes will affect the start and end dates of the school year, parent/teacher conferences, professional development and in-service days, CLC schools, new teacher orientation, and holidays.
The revisions were proposed and also unanimously approved by the Certified Personnel Policies Committee (PPC), which serves as the FPS School Calendar Committee. The Certified PPC met in recent months to discuss the recommended proposals. The Classified Personnel Policies Committee was presented with the changes and offered an opportunity for input and feedback.
“Our Certified PPC has been honored to take on new challenges this year, including proposing calendar changes for 2017-2018 as the district’s calendar committee,” said Claire Garrett, FPS special services designee, and president of Certified PPC. “We have listened to parents and staff, and we believe that the adjustments proposed offer more flexibility for teachers while meeting the needs of families across the district.”
Garrett continued, “One major goal was to diminish ‘broken weeks,’ as finding childcare can be difficult on days when FPS closes school for in-service. Grouping in-service days at the beginning of each semester will alleviate ‘broken weeks,’ but will also provide a system for improved professional development. Additionally, a revision in the parent-teacher conference format will allow for more flexibility for parents to meet with their child’s teacher, while empowering teachers to manage parent-teacher conferences. I am confident that our community, parents, teachers, support staff, and students will be pleased with the changes.”
Changes made to the calendar include:
- Fall parent/teacher conferences to be held during the entire month of October rather than two select days, offering parents and teachers a month-long time period to meet with each other.
- Spring parent/teacher conferences to be held during the month of March, to offer the same flexibility at the elementary and middle school levels.
- Professional development (PD) days, or “in-service days,” will be grouped at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters, allowing teachers on both the traditional and continuous learning calendars to attend PD together. Additionally, this improvement will allow all students in the school district to start both semesters on the same day.
- The observance of President’s Day is added – no school.
- The last day of school will be prior to Memorial Day (pending snow make-up days).
- New teacher orientation will be held in early August, rather than late July.
“Compacting the in-service days in January not only provides for more productive and effective PD time for teachers, it also gives families more time together during the winter break,” said Anna Beaulieu, Fayetteville High School teacher, Certified PPC member, and co-president of Fayetteville Educators Association (FEA).
As the board of education prefers to have a school calendar approved at least two years in advance, the Certified PPC will now begin discussions around the 2018-19 school calendar.
“It has been a privilege to work with outstanding and dedicated district teachers to design and propose to our board a school calendar that better meets the needs of teachers and students, yet be family-friendly,” said Superintendent Dr. Matthew Wendt. “We want a school calendar to provide the framework and support for higher academic achievement. The new calendar not only supports this desire, but values teachers, empowers teachers, and offers the type of professionalism we expect for our teachers.”