FCPS releases 2017-2018 school calendar

Annandale, as well as all other FCPS schools and facilities, will open its doors a little earlier next school year as Fairfax County just released the 2017-2018 school calendar, making many students fears a reality; a shorter summer.

School is scheduled to start in late August, with teachers coming in on Aug. 21 to start setting up classrooms and dusting off textbooks that have remained untouched all summer. Classes for students will commence on Aug. 8 and conclude for all on June 15.

“Now we’re coming back [to school] the week of my birthday, which means we will have a shorter summer,” junior Jessica Roop said. “I don’t like [the new start date] even though it means we will get out of school earlier next year [for summer break].”

The movement for school to start before Labor Day has been a long standing issue. The past decade of snow days have qualified Virginia’s largest school district to before the long weekend hoping to give students more instructional time before Winter break.

Another argument made for moving the school year up a week is that students will have more time to prepare for end of year tests, specifically International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advanced Placement (AP) exams.

“[I agree with moving the school year up], I’d rather have the time in the beginning of the year to prepare, for not just IB but AP exams too,” IB Biology and Human Anatomy teacher Francesca Mast said. “The first summer will be rough because it’s a little shorter but overall [it will be better].”

This calendar change is the largest one since Karen Garza adapted the school year to allow students and staff two full weeks off for Winter break and a two hour early release before every break.

The original rule that students may not start before Labor Day was passed nearly two decades ago in an attempt to protect the state’s tourism industry, especially in theme parks but more and more schools are moving to an earlier start, giving the law less impact.

“In the other states I’ve taught in we have always started before labor day so this is kinda more normal for me,” Mast said.

FCPS has over 186,000 students enrolled county wide and starting even a week earlier is expected to greatly impact tourist attractions, beaches and amusement parks. The trade off for the millions of dollars lost in revenue in those departments is more educational time and curriculum for students. A cause that many parents and board members and not so many students are happy to get behind.