DeKalb Schools 2020-2021 Calendar

On Monday DeKalb Schools administration is recommending approving the school calendars for the next two school years.

The 2020-2022 Calendar Committee included representation from the following stakeholder groups: parents, students, school-level staff, principals, district-level staff, and community/business partners.

The Calendar Committee developed calendar options by considering the number of days per year, number of days per semester, inclement weather/emergency days, testing windows, spring breaks, holidays, school breaks, and other metro area school districts’ calendars. Stakeholders provided input through an online survey that opened October 21, 2019 and closed October 30, 2019. The committee members analyzed the responses and comments received from 30,510 respondents before preparing the final calendar recommendations.

 2020-2021 Proposed Calendar
 2021-2022 Proposed Calendar

Comment here with your thoughts or join the Facebook Conversation.

The 2020-2022 school calendars contain the following features:

  • 180 days of instruction – 90 instructional days in first semester and 90 instructional days in second semester
  • First day of school for students – Monday during the first week of August
  • 190 teacher-contract days including one evening workday comprised of four conference nights during the year as scheduled by each local school (Each conference night is two hours.)
  • 5 teacher workdays before the first day of school
  • Holidays – Labor Day, Columbus Day, Martin L. King Day, and President’s Day
  • October Fall Break ­
  • Thanksgiving Break – one full week
  • Conclude first semester prior to winter break
  • One day in January for post planning/pre-planning
  • February Winter Break
  • One Professional Development Day in March
  • 5 inclement weather days each semester
  • Spring Break – one week in April
  • Early release days on the last day of first semester and second semester
  • Last day of school for students – third week of May
  • Post planning second semester – fourth week of May


DeKalb Schools Proposed 2020-2021 Calendar

Given the two options, By and large, the DeKalb Community wants an early start date and a balanced calendar. In talking to parents across the county, there are many communities that find Summer Break to be way too long. The education establishment is also concerned about the Summer Slide.

The community that reads and comments on this blog, generally speaking, does not want an early start date and is not as concerned about a balanced calendar.


  Comparison – All Metro Area Calendars

Atlanta Metro Area Calendars

Atlanta Metro Area Calendars


Calendar Poll
October 21, 2019 – Please complete this poll on the DeKalb Schools Calendar Attributes so I can better understand where the majority of the community stands.

2020-2021 Calendar Options
October 21, 2019 – Look at the calendar options and what the other Metro Atlanta school districts are doing. Let me know your thoughts about the Start Date, Balanced Calendar and Early Release days.

DeKalb Schools Calendar Update
October 18, 2019 – The Office of Accountability is preparing to release the survey any day now. The final recommendation should be on the Board of Education agenda for approval Nov 4, 2019.


2018-2020  Calendars
2019-2020 Calendar
2018-2019 Calendar
2017-2018  Calendar
2016-2017  Calendar
2015-2016  Calendar

42 responses to “DeKalb Schools 2020-2021 Calendar

  1. An entire week in July for teachers back to work?!? I’m out. Glad they are doing this prior to contract signing. I’ll call an end to my 17 years in DeKalb Schools. Thanks for keeping us in the loop, Stan.

  2. Yep. I’ll show up in July dressed like Jimmy Buffet. Where’s the evidence that this ridiculous early start will improve education? Schools across the country begin later, end later, and have better outcomes. What’s driving this passion for attending school in August? Ridiculous. Please vote against this and at least for a calendar that matches the city of Atlanta and Fulton County.

  3. Yet again, I’m going to go with them pulling a bait and switch with their results. Almost everyone including teachers were in favor for a later start date, no half days, no fall break or winter break. Did DeKalb even think about the number of children on free or reduced meals. So who is going to feed these babies? What about the half days when kids won’t be able to receive their lunch? I literally don’t know any teacher that wants to be at work during JULY. Our baby’s and staff are roasting inside the classrooms due to no functioning air conditioners. Our kids had legit heat stroke this August when we spent a week in 100 degree temps. They came off the buses to their parents covered in sweat and dehydrated. Seriously. I sincerely hope the board kicks this to the curb. And with Dr Green leaving I would advise y’all to find an alternate “panel” to propose this calendar.

  4. Disgusted in Dekalb

    I agree with you all. School starts waaaayyyy too early. As an educator in the county, the 100 degree temps make the students just as sick as extreme cold weather. There is nothing stating that starting school in August makes anyone any smarter. I’m from up north and schools start after Labor Day. They out perform us here in Georgia like nobody’s business. Please do more research and see exactly what they are doing. We do things backwards here.
    When Stan says they polled for this calendar…. who did “they” poll? I used to get polls as a parent and as an educator on the calendar… I have gotten nothing except for here…. this is what we’re doing! It’s not fair. I may be packing my glad rags as well. I’m done with this treatment!!! Glad to know how “they” really feel about us before contracts come out!

  5. DeKalb Schools put out a calendar poll/survey. 30,000 surveys were taken. They seem to indicate that a large majority of people want a shorter Summer. From my experience talking to people across the county, different communities want different things.

  6. Horrible! Just awful. My kids will be at camp last week of July before camp starts. We already registered. We will be away on trip while kids are gone but as a teacher I have preplanning‍♀️!This is unacceptable notice. Once again DeKalb gets it wrong

  7. RL, same over here. It’s really maddening that we had no calendar to help navigate our summer planning for next year when these decisions had to be made, it is completely unacceptable.

  8. Someone should also inform DeKalb county summer camps do not start until JUNE. This means we’ll have to juggle where are kids spend their days for a solid three weeks. You have a lot of two income households inside this district. Is DeKalb going to pay for childcare during the weeks we cannot get them into camps? And before anyone replies, thr YMCA doesn’t even start summer camp until June. But yea. Good idea.

  9. No July start

    It is poor planning to have teachers at school in July. Students beginning in early August—awful. Please poll the teachers too. We should have a say. The calendar that is always worse for students and teachers is always the one that is picked by this county. We used to start school a week before Labor Day and end the second week of June. It was a much better schedule then for the students. Also because the semesters were divided, it gave time for the high school students to study over winter break. Hmm. Not a bad idea.

  10. 30,000 surveys were completed. Teachers were as welcome as anybody else to take the survey. There are 7,000 ish teachers. Only 2,500 surveys reflected a late start date.

  11. Kate Eastburn

    I don’t know anyone in favor of an early start date yet these poll results yield a different outcome to what many of us had hoped. I’m confused. And disappointed. Thanks Stan for keeping us well
    Informed and in the loop. I appreciate what you do and can’t imagine it’s easy. I guess we need to expect early start date moving forward as it seems to be a trend Dekalb is leaning toward.

  12. Kate Eastburn

    I just took a very quick glance at Jeffco schools Colorado. Biggest school district in Denver area like Dekalb is here.They start Aug 18 next year, they get out late May. They get all the same breaks as us for most part. Why can’t we do similar?

  13. Carolina Rucks-AlSaedi

    Nice Dekalb. Unairconditioned school buses. Schools where airconditioning never works
    Retirement is a beautiful thing.

  14. Early start fan

    Early start dates are much better for AP students and seniors applying to college.

  15. Early Start Fan- how do students in vast swaths of the country exceed Georgia on AP tests, manage to get into prestigious colleges, and attend school with substantially later start dates? It’s not when they do or don’t begin school, its what they do while they are there.

    That survey sounds bogus- 80% favoring an early start? We can’t get 80% of DeKalb to agree on the time of day.

  16. Well, I’ll be soaking up the sun at a beach somewhere in May. That’ll be nice.

  17. And kids will be getting 11 weeks of summer this year and 10 next year. How is that “short”?

  18. For me, the concern has never been about the length of summer. My concern has always been about the gross impracticality of sending kids to school in the middle of summer. It’s not good for kids, not good for families, not good for the state economy.

  19. The state economy will be fine, and after 100° October, we just need to break down and AC our busses. Clayton did it. Save money by redistricting, cancelling additions at Dunwoody and Chamblee and make these buses bearable year round.

  20. @early start fan – actually a later start date is better for seniors: more time to work on college applications and more time to study for the last chance Aug/Sept SAT/ACT without worrying about classes/homework and more time to tour colleges when students are on campus as most colleges start back in early August – summer is not indicative of a typical college day/campus.

    AP classes – as Edugator says, it’s all about what happens in the class and what the teachers expect from their students.

  21. DSW2Contributor

    Stan, having 10 inclement weather days is asinine. Schools in the snowbelt only need 4 (or less) weather conttingency days and they schedule those days for the last two months of the school year. Why do we need 10 days? Having so many creates real hardships for families and schoolhouse employees.

    Schoolhouse employees cannot cannot make any plans for the Oct 8-12 fall break since it might not happen. We cannot make plans for all of Thanksgiving week since we might have school on Monday. We cannot say for sure if we will have Professional Development (November 3 and March 12) because they might not happen. Hell, we cannot even say when the school year ends because it might be May 21, May 24 or May 25!

    I don’t want to think about the hardships this causes for split-custody parents.

  22. @DSW2Contributor,
    Before Chromebooks, we didn’t have enough inclement weather days and the school district found itself in a lot of trouble. Since then, it has built in plenty of inclement weather days. I imagine over the next year or two the school district will wind that back down. I anticipate the school district using virtual learning days over inclement weather days.

  23. Absolutely shocked at the survey posted. It’s completely flip-flopped from what I’ve been hearing and what I personally would want. It doesn’t make it wrong, but it does make questionable. What I personally would want can go out the window if for the greater good…let’s look at the greater good argument.

    If you review the last few years of calendars, all have been 10 weeks of summer and so are the latest proposed calendars. So, making the summer shorter is NOT an argument. What is happening is shifting when summer break occurs. I recall the former superintendent trying to do this and it was met with parents that put a stop to it.

    Seriously, there are so many arguments against an earlier start. The weather temp being so harshly hot, the old Dekalb building HVAC not being able to keep up with the heat, the buses not being able to keep up with heat (because THERE IS NO a/c), the fact that across the country more schools start later than earlier…AND this doesn’t cause issues with AP testing or college applications. In fact, when reviewing those other schools like the northeast, for instance, these students excel in AP and top tier college admissions. The fact that more families have cross country/continental travel to see family means that we cannot only think on a sub-regional context. Family wants to see family and can’t if some are in school and some are not. Dekalb could at minimum be on par with Atlanta City Schools and Fulton County Schools.

    If DCSD board and admin still want and earlier start, they MUST provide rationale other than one survey. They must provide data that shows it’s better than the alternatives. The staff should be researching the best alternatives as well as surveying local population.

  24. DSW2Contributor has a great point! There is NO reason to have so many inclement weather days inserted in the calendar. I get that when something happens like hurricane in first semester or an ice/snow storm in second semester that schools might be missed, but with the addition on virtual work, we don’t need so many inclement weather days built in. Especially, not more than what we had prior to our calendars having less than 10 days of inclement weather days. Please! Let our families plan for true days off…. they need to know truly when to plan days off/babysitter/camps/travel/ etc

  25. Have you ever seen a kid get off the bus in August??? They’re melting. Have you ever seen a child in an un-airconditioned classroom in August (or even September)? Some are literally sleeping from the heat. Why in the world do we need to go back to school so early? It’s just another complete mismanagement of schools in DeKalb county.

  26. We haven’t actually done any inclement weather days in the last couple of years. We’ve always just done virtual learning days. The folder is pretty built into VERGE for us already.

  27. Bogus numbers

    I agree with the person above who questioned the survey “results” – this is DeKalb. I’m sure the central office asshats have a reason they want to start back early and either made up these numbers or had Braaten and the other wastoids in the central office filling out survey after survey. Do you really think the majority of the county (teachers, students, parents) wants to start early?

  28. Bogus numbers, agreed….and to the magnitude the survey indicates brings extra scrutiny. Questionable survey results are nothing new in DeKalb, unfortunately.

  29. Hello @witsend. I think the inclement weather days are a leftover practice from the past. It doesn’t hurt to have them just in case, but I anticipate using virtual learning if we have inclement weather.

  30. Parent and Teacher

    As a teacher and parent, I don’t believe these numbers at all. What teacher would want to start school early? Are they going to permit teachers to wear shorts to school (work) in the blasting heat when the AC doesn’t work? In regards to an early release in May, no camps are open that early in May. What are families supposed to do about childcare? Why would anyone vote to get out of school that early when the rest of the country is still in school? Lastly, this notice was way tooooooo late. We should have much more time to plan for camps, holidays and vacation.

  31. Stan, is there any way to officially question the survey results and find out more about where the responses came from? What I mean is to determine whether survey gaming took place in the form of auto programs being used to answer in large numbers that skew results…..30,000 plus respondents in such a short time frame is very suspicious to me. Does the dept. that puts out these surveys track where responses come from? I can likely guess the answer is no. If the survey has been compromised in some way, the calendar vote should be tabled until next month, while this is sorted out even though we’re all anxious to get this nailed down ASAP.

  32. Hello @SurveySays. We have 100K students. I doubt 30K parents, students, teachers took the survey. And, 92% of the people voted one way? That seems highly unlikely. Also, the students by and large voted for the early start date …. unlikely.

    Orson and I are going to talk about these things today.

  33. Kate Eastburn- I just looked at the Jeffco calendars as well. The main difference there is they only have 175 instructional days as opposed to 180 for Dekalb. So yes, if we didn’t have to have those 5 days, our school year could be more compact as well! They also have a pretty imbalanced calendar, with (this year) 84 days in the 1st semester & 91 days in the 2nd. Next year it’s even more imbalanced, with 83 & 92. That’s obviously not the end of the world, but is a bigger issue for high schools that are on block scheduling like Dunwoody.

    To me, a better option would be:
    – Start school on Wednesday, August 12.
    – Only have 1 day for Fall Break instead of 3.
    – Only have 3 days for Thanksgiving instead of 5.
    – That gives you 87 days in Fall Semester.
    – Almost everything in the Spring semester stays the same except you finish on Wednesday, May 26 instead of Friday the 21st. That gives you 93 days in Spring Semester and you’re still out before Memorial Day. Not exactly balanced, but not too far off.

    Tell me why this wouldn’t work?

  34. Kate Eastburn

    Dunwoody Dad , thanks for going deeper re the Jeffco Calendar! I only glanced at it but thought it was a good place to start to see if we can push out past early August. I like your proposal. It makes way more sense than what we have right now. Let’s see if we can get a better resolution.

  35. Rel the Jeffco calendar – if you cut 5 days off the school year, that is a significant pay cut for teachers, bus drivers, and cafeteria staff. I don’t think anyone would want that!

  36. The proposed calendar option passed last night.

  37. Gevertz made the motion to approve. Jester and Orson opposed it. Both raised concerns about the survey results. Thank you Stan and Marshall for trying to engage further conversation and explore the results, esp. given the BOE only received the info Friday. Disappointing other BOE members didn’t see the value of that. Hope it doesn’t lead to an exodus of teachers come contract time.

  38. I’m leaving on a jet plane! Don’t know when I’ll be back again…

  39. In my personal observations made over the course of many years of teaching, I find the behavior of students deteriorates significantly days leading up to a school break, as well as for a day or two following the return from the break. Absences tend to be higher on the day or two leading into a break as well as coming out of one. The multiple breaks throughout the year leads to loss of learning time due to these issues.
    I wonder if anyone has studied the overall absences one to two days prior to and following a break to see if there is a pattern. I guess it’s possible it’s an anomaly at the schools where I have taught. In my humble opinion, a regular routine and pressing forward is wise in developing the building blocks. Frequent breaks might in fact have a negative impact on learning.
    I guess it’s time to start looking at Fulton County or a couple private school options.

  40. Spot on, ConcernedToo. I going to stay and rage against the dying of the light, but I think my fearful trip is about done.

    That sounds a bit morbid, but this system is a shadow of what it once was. I’m staying for those remaining points of light.

  41. “I may be simple but I’m no fool.” Yes, it’s anecdotal, but I work in a pediatric medical practice and each summer when school is about to re-start I try to take my own informal “poll,” asking an actual ton of people, from all backgrounds, communities, and walks of life that I can possibly encounter, what their feelings are about sending their kids back to school so early in August. Again, anecdotal, but may I say that I have yet to encounter EVEN ONE parent who is in favor of the ridiculous starting of the school year in early August. Most go so far as to express disgust and strong opposition. In light of this “survey,” how can that be.

    Yes, I may be simple but it doesn’t take a genius to know that Dekalb County has proven itself over and over to be generally corrupt, and I can only sincerely believe that this is another example of some group, for some reason (I have to think there is an unknown financial motive, what else) is “cooking the survey results books.” Please, someone get to the bottom of it and become the new superhero to Dekalb parents & students. Until then I’ll just continue to have the utmost sympathy for the poor teachers going back to school in July, and my poor sweat-soaked kids having to deal with the impossible Atlanta heat on the buses and in the classroom.

  42. DSW2Contributor

    ^ “I have yet to encounter EVEN ONE parent who is in favor of the ridiculous starting of the school year in early August”
    That’s because parents were ready to their kids back to school on July 1!