DeKalb Schools 2016-17 School Calendar Update

The Calendar Committee is charged with developing calendar options for the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 school years.  Both calendars will be finalized and approved at the upcoming Feb 1 board meeting.  Please comment here with any thoughts or suggestions.
2016-2017 DeKalb Schools Calendar
 2015 – 2016 School Calendar
2015 – 2016 Graduation Schedule

2016-2017 Calendar
The recommendation for the 2016-2017 school year is a calendar very similar to the current school year’s calendar.

  • First Day of School – August 8, 2016
  • End of First Semester – December 20, 2016
  • Beginning of Second Semester for Students – January 4, 2017
  • Spring Break – April 3-7, 2017
  • Last Day of School for Students – May 25, 2017

2016-2017 and 2017-2018 calendars include the following attributes:

  1. 180 days of instruction for students
  2. 190 teacher days including one evening workday comprised of parent-teacher conferences (2 per semester)
  3. 5 teacher workdays before the first day of school
  4. Holidays for all – Labor Day, Martin L. King, Jr. Day, and President’s Day
  5. Thanksgiving break – Fourth Week of November
  6. Spring Break – coincides with most metro area districts
  7. Last day of school for students – Fourth Week of May

2017-2018 Calendar
The committee is considering different options for the 2017-2018 school year. The major differences are pre-planning days for teachers and the first day of school for students.  One calendar option begins the school year with pre-planning for teachers on Monday, July 24, 2017, and the first day of school for students on Monday, July 31, 2017.  The other calendar option begins the school year with pre-planning for the teachers on Monday, July 31, 2017, and the first day of school for students on August 7, 2017.
NOTE:  The earlier start date provides the flexibility to include a fall break five consecutive weekdays/one week).  Although there are several possibilities for the fall mini break, the committee will consider the testing schedules.
The calendar is being released later than usual this year.  Upon inquiring on Jan 5 about the status of the calendar, I was informed the calendar committee was working on getting community input.  Last week I asked about the status of getting community input for the upcoming school calendar. Subsequent to that inquiry, the calendar committee published this online survey.   Their robust attempt to gather community input yielded a survey containing only this one question:
Would you like to start the 2017-2018 school year one week earlier to incorporate a fall break (five consecutive weekdays/one week)?

13 responses to “DeKalb Schools 2016-17 School Calendar Update

  1. Thank you so much for posting this! I would argue in favor of the earlier start date to accommodate a fall break, as this will slightly assist in reducing the time for students to experience summer learning loss. I also would be in favor of half days of school during the last 3 days of the semester. This would allow for grading to be done the same day of a final exam (as well as final grade posting before the December holiday break and summer break). By doing this we will ensure that students get timely feedback on their performance in class and it will also help students who are transferring and need their grades in order to register for another school by the beginning of the spring semester. Just my two cents

  2. Submitted condensed version of this to survey.
    – Keep school start date approximately the same. Have a week mid-semester fall (Columbus Day) and spring break (3rd week of March / why does it matter what other metro districts do). Reduce Thanksgiving days off to either the Wednesday prior or Monday after. Timing of big breaks make much more sense academically. Big fan of the half days Rebekah mentioned above. Could be incorporated mid-semester as well.

  3. Are we going to be in school on a presidential election year? I don’t want an earlier start…period. We start super early as it is. Thanksgiving break needs to remain M-F. We will have terrible attendance if we change it to W-F.

  4. Insideurschool

    May I remind you that MOST Dekalb County School buses are NOT air-conditioned. Many buses are already over crowded. Have you ever witnessed small children, any children after getting off the bus in August? The driver is sitting up front near the engine which is even hotter. All the windows open helps nothing when standing still in traffic. On a day it rains only increases the misery. It is even more miserable for the youngest children. Their heads are not high enough to even benefit from what little breeze the windows might provide. Start school in Georgia in JULY? What are those making the decisions thinking? This makes as much sense as the past superintendent who suggested reading material be placed on all buses at a great expense. Obviously HE had never experienced just how much a school bus bounced up and down. Impossible to read on a moving school bus!

  5. ConcernedParent

    Does this mean that Winter Break for 2016-17 doesn’t start until Wednesday, 12/21? Same calendar in 2011-12 (with Christmas on Sunday) had Winter Break starting on Monday, 12/19, which makes much more sense. I expect many kids won’t be in school for just 2 days (12/19 and 12/20) that week. Both years have them starting Monday, 08/08 and returning from Winter Break on Wednesday, 01/04. Is there some reason for the change or am I just misunderstanding what it says?

  6. I agree with concerned parent’s remarks on the calendar? why the extra 1-2 days of school during those time periods?

  7. I would also like to hear from the Superintendent and calendar planning group what the pros and cons are of starting in July and having a Fall break? I’ve noticed that when feedback is requested on options that the leadership never shares the thought process and supposed benefits of the suggested change.
    Leadership should play a role in helping the community stakeholders understand the key benefits and/or losses of any potential change. We need to understand the “why” in a proposed change and the impacts on students (better learning retention?), teachers (can they complete Summer continued Ed?), school (additional costs or cost savings?), community. Without the education of why we should change, status quo and personal preference will play out.

  8. For 2017-2018, keep start date the same; I do not like the option for beginning in July. I don’t know that a Fall Break is needed. I do like the idea of half-days the last 3 days of the semester. That is a good idea for older students who are studying hard for finals.

  9. Regarding the 2016-17 calendar:
    I noticed that Winter Break starts on Wednesday, 12/21/16. Why was the decision made to start in the middle of the week rather than on Monday, 12/19/16? Compare this to the 2011-12 calendar, which was the same in terms of when school started and when Christmas was on Monday, and Winter Break started on Monday, 12/19. This would be a departure from the past few years, when Winter Break was at least 2 weeks of Monday-Friday.
    I am in favor of the 2011-12 schedule, which is easier for working parents and also for students’ state-of-mind. I know if I’m going to be off starting on a Wednesday, then my brain is already on vacation starting on Monday.

  10. I am not in favor of a July start date or a fall break. My company makes us schedule all our vacation a year in advance and it is already hard enough to get time off in the summer with an early August start date. Shortening summer would further decrease my odds of having any time of with my kids, and there is no way I would get the fall break option.

  11. Stan,
    Will you please ask some version of the following questions?
    What happened to work days? Professional learning is great, but we also need to time to do all the other things associated with our profession like grading, recording, etc…
    Why do teachers need five work days before school starts instead of some work days throughout the school year? What are the things the many people supporting instruction but not in school buildings or not in classrooms could be doing during the summer so that we don’t lose precious time on tasks that should’ve been completed?
    What type of cost analysis has the school district completed for a July start?
    Who makes up this calendar committee? The information will only be as comprehensive as the people involved. How many teachers and of what levels and needs?
    Why such a short turnaround time with such little feedback? Survey finished at midnight on Friday. Board meeting is tomorrow. Do you get to see the “Input” or is someone providing a generic summary? Last year more than 6,000 people responded to the calendar survey-at least that’s what the posted information for the 1/12/15 meeting says. It seems no one ever gets access to the comments or even a summary, just a list of the number of people voting.
    If the district is looking to other districts for calendars, is it also looking at how these districts do things? Days may not matter as much as what we do with these days.

  12. FrustratedParent

    Check out the calendar that was actually proposed for the 2016-2017 school year.
    Winter break doesn’t start on Wednesday Dec 21st – there’s still school that day! It actually starts on Thursday Dec 22nd. This is different than what was represented in the survey. Why the extra day? If the middle schoolers and high school kids are taking exams that week (assume Tuesday & Wednesday exams), then Monday becomes a wasted day.
    It’s ridiculous that it’s taken DeKalb this long to vote on the calendar for the 2016 – 2017 school year.