Few things affect our lives in the same ways as a school calendar. What else influences us more about when we schedule vacations, family events or even doctor appointments?
Because the school calendar literally outlines the lives of our students, their families and all of our employees, we in Atlanta Public Schools take great measures to gather input from our stakeholders before the Atlanta Board of Education approves an official calendar for any school year.
In 2018, we developed a robust process to develop calendars for both the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 school years, which included feedback from a community-wide survey with more than 11,200 respondents; collaboration with a district-wide Calendar Committee, teacher advisory committee, district executive committee; and input from principals and the Schools & Academics division.
Even after that, comments kept coming as families and employees found they missed some of the breaks included in calendars of the past. Based on that response, we revisited parts of both calendars and surveyed the community again.
The recommended calendar for 2020-2021 features a start date on the second Monday in August and four-day weekends in October and February for students, with school ending prior to Memorial Day. We found considerable support for denoting October 12, 2020, as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
For the 2021-2022 calendar, we found that since this calendar’s adoption in October 2018, a considerable number of stakeholders have asked for revision. The recommended options for changes included:
- Option A (August 2nd first day of school; October and February breaks for students and teachers; May 27th last day of school)
- Option B (August 9th first day of school; long weekends in October and February for students; May 26th last day of school)
- Option C (August 9th first day of school; long weekends in October and February for students and teachers; May 27th last day of school)
This time, there were 13,131 respondents to the survey. A majority of the responses were from parents at 43.36 percent, followed by employees at 35.72 percent.
Overwhelmingly, a majority of the respondents selected Option A at 65.75 percent, while 14.60% chose Option B and 19.66% chose Option C.
We will recommend the Board to adopt changes outlined in Option A, which will have the following features: Monday, August 2nd will be the first day of school. October and February have week-long breaks for students and a teacher professional learning day followed by four days off for teachers. Friday, May 27 will be the last day of that school year. The calendar also includes a week off in November for Thanksgiving, two weeks off for the Winter Holiday Break, and a week for Spring Break during the first full week April.
The Board plans to vote on revisions to both school calendars at its next meeting on Monday, March 2, at the Alonzo A. Crim Center for Learning and Leadership, 130 Trinity Avenue, Atlanta 30303.