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School Board Approves Shortened School Year

Members unanimously vote to end 2011-12 school year two days earlier than scheduled

Though Fairfax County Public Schools students missed out on the chance to enjoy snow days during this year's mild winter, they will be granted a couple more days of summer vacation.

The school board voted unanimously to set Friday, June 15 as the last day of school for students, shortening the school year by two days. June 18 and 19, previously the last two days of school, will now function as teacher work days.

"I believe that converting June 18 and 19 to teacher work days will be a better use of those two days," member Ilryong Moon (At-large) said. "They will provide the teachers with much needed time to complete end-of-the-year assignments, school improvement planning, teacher planning and collaborative team planning and any other workload relief that can be accomplished."

Kimberly Adams, Fairfax Education Association vice president, told the board during the community input portion of the meeting her group was concerned the two work days will be used to pile more work on teachers rather than allow them extra time to complete the already heavy load typically crammed into one day at the end of the year.

"Changing the school calendar to convert two student days to two teacher work days at the end of the year is a great idea," she said. "... However, this found time should not mean piling on more data analysis and top-down management structures on our teachers. The professional educators in our system know what needs to be done to properly wrap up their school year. Having more time means that many teachers will actually be able to complete all their assigned tasks during contract hours ..."

In response to Adams' remarks, member Pat Hynes (Hunter Mill) asked Superintendent Jack Dale to address teachers' concerns about how the time will be used.

"We've actually been working internally to prepare a memo to all the principals to try and have all the grassroots stuff that support teachers in a lot of the matters she was describing," said Dale, who added FCPS will expect teachers to take working conditions survey at some point in the next three days.

FCPS canceled classes once in the 2011-12 school year after ravaged much of the county in early September.

The schedule for graduation ceremonies remains the same. For the full schedule, click here.

Amelie Krikorian April 13, 2012 at 09:30 PM
Yes, with the caveat that teachers and instructional aides will have to still work Monday and Tuesday. Many, many teachers have kids in school, and summer camps will not be starting that Monday and Tuesday. I guess we are supposed to just leave them home unattended? The real reason this decision was made is that there is no money in the budget to pay custodians, cafeteria workers, and bus drivers who are all hourly. Although teachers' contracts stipulate a certain number of days, and IAs are only supposed to work 190 days, we all get to work those extra days without additional pay. So much for a contract that states you will be working a certain number of days.
Kevin Hickerson April 14, 2012 at 01:12 AM
The custodians will be working as they would normally. Cafeteria workers and bus drivers will be working but they will be doing training Dale stated last night.
Virginia Fitz Shea April 20, 2012 at 07:24 PM
To clarify the point about the working conditions survey, Superintendent Dale said that "we will be expecting that they take a look at the working conditions survey in their buildings...we always believe that's a valuable thing for teachers and administrators to jointly work through." He was referring to a survey that has already been completed. Also, Dr. Dale didn't specifically say that both cafeteria workers and bus drivers will be doing training. He simply agreed with the statement Sandy Evans , the Mason District representative on the school board, made when she asked for a clarification. She said, " I wanted I wanted to ask this question of Dr. Dale …. I’m pretty sure I know the answer…. As I understand it—bus drivers will get training, in these days, cafeteria workers will be employed, the IAs will be there. So none of our employees will lose any compensation time, including our part-time workers." Dr. Dale agreed, saying, "True, true statement." After the meeting, I asked Sandy Evans whether bus drivers and cafeteria workers are paid for actual snow days in the winter. Her administrative assistant, Kathy Partlow, sent me the information that bus drivers and food service workers do receive pay for the first three snow days when schools are closed.

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