FCPS school board to vote on 2023-24 calendar

The school year calendar has been a hot topic of discussion over recent months. With the addition of many observance holidays including Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Diwali, the amount of full five-day school weeks has dipped to 23 weeks.
This figure is significantly lower than previous years, and criticism has arisen that the short weeks are ineffective in helping students stay on track after the impact of online learning and time off during Covid-19. FCPS is prioritizing the reversal of it with their newly released potential 2023-24 school calendars.
The school board will vote to decide the school calendar for next year and possible years to come on Feb. 9.
FCPS relied on guidance from the Federal and State departments of education. In addition, the school board and FCPS Superintendent Dr. Reid had input on the reconstructed calendar.
On Tues. Jan. 17 following a work session, FCPS released four potential options for a school calendar that could be intact for the next one to three years. There are Blue, Orange, Green, and Purple calendars.
Each of the four propositions are unique- with the Blue, Orange, and Purple starting the school year two weeks before Labor Day and the Green a week before. Both the Blue and Purple have full two-week winter breaks, while the Orange and Green calendars offer less than the traditional two-week winter break.
“I like the purple option the best,” senior Evan Newton said. “I think the two-week winter break is so important and taking that away would be a mistake, and the purple option has a two week winter break and only 177 days in school.”
All of the calendars fulfill the Virginia law requirements of 180 school days or 990 hours of instruction. Additionally, all four of the options raise the amount of five-day school weeks to either 25 or 26 weeks.
“I think either purple or blue is the best choice,” freshman Sophia Sewall said. “I would rather get out of school earlier rather than going back to school later..”
A major change to the schedule is that spring break will be moved to the last week of March, as all four options list spring break from March 25-29. This move will align FCPS with surrounding counties like Alexandria City, Loudon, and Arlington counties.