Options for the 2020-2021 Frederick County Public Schools calendar are under development, with a pre-Labor Day start date being strongly considered.

Members of the FCPS calendar committee, which is made up of parents, teachers, and FCPS staff among others and charged by the Board of Education, held their second meeting of the school year last week to discuss priorities for next year’s calendars and begin making drafts.

“We were tasked by the board to make the best educational calendar we could,” said Kevin Cuppett, co-chair of the committee. “We talked about things like having as many full days of school as possible, making sure the kids are prepared for [Advanced Placement] tests. ... We developed a list of priorities that would guide the development of the actual calendar.”

Cuppett said it’s important to develop priorities as there are so many other factors of the calendar that can’t be controlled, such as state and religious holidays.

“A lot of people I think don’t understand that there are a lot of requirements that control what the calendar looks like that are beyond the control of any school district,” Cuppett said. “But what we do have control over is what are we going to prioritize for our kids.”

There is also more flexibility in the calendar development this year as Maryland school districts are no longer required to have a post-Labor Day start.

In 2016, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued an executive order that required all state public schools to begin their academic year after the “end of summer” holiday. In March, that order was overturned by the General Assembly, allowing local jurisdictions to make up the calendar, despite Hogan’s veto.

Cuppett said the committee is looking at both options and has not ruled out anything, but that many committee members favor a pre-Labor Day start as it simply gives the school system more options and time.

Members of the board has in the past backed a pre-Labor Day start, especially in years that don’t leave a lot of scheduling flexibility, which the 2020-2021 school year does not.

“The challenge with the post-Labor Day start ... is there’s only so much you can do in the calendar, and for many people on the calendar committee, they didn’t feel that produced the best educational calendar for kids,” Cuppett said.

The committee will continue working on drafts and will present a final option to the board for review in November.

Follow Katryna Perera on Twitter: @katrynajill.

(26) comments

Comment deleted.

Is punctuation socialist?

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Just curious, did you attend school or get a degree?

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Apparently your education did not contain a lesson about strawman arguments.


The Frederick County School Board is going to do what the Frederick County School Board wants to do and not what the majority of pollsters in the recent FNP poll voted for and that is to open schools post-Labor Day. In this day of the "minority wins", it doesn't surprise me.


Was that poll scientific or just random to whomever clicked on the link? Because unless it was a rigorous, scientific poll then it should be ignored. These are elected representatives. If we only governed by polls then there would be no need for elected officials.


Man, I have really enjoyed my time as a teacher and i think I have had a positive influence on many children - particularly over the past decade working with younger kids- as an example of a kind, gentle, fun-loving and stable male role model but i honestly cannot wait to get off of this ship of fools also known as institutionalized public education! Sheesh! SMH.


Let me kindly suggest that what irks you is likely to be found in any large and bureaucratic organization, public or private. A friend of mine served on a committee that spent 18 months evaluating a small change to a bank’s logo. In addition to his regular duties of course.


You are probably correct Pub.


I could certainly see changing the rule from "after Labor Day" to "in September" to deal with years like this upcoming one. It probably makes sense to start Sept 1 when Sept 1 is a Tuesday, Wednesday, or maybe even Thursday.


It’s a Power Trip the School Board is going to show the Public they’ll do whatever they want regardless of what parents want The sad truth is most parents are afraid to speak up due to the retribution their children will be subject too


What a ridiculous thing to say. Do you have any "proof" that children are being subject to any retribution? Do you think the BOE has time or interest to say "Timberman complained so we need to go be mean to their child." Did you even read the article? The BOE does not decide on the calendar alone.


Come on timber... Retribution ? You are way off base.


Strongly support a pre-Labor Day start, especially for 2020-2021. However, I want to see a Spring Break (or even late winter “ski week” break like some districts do). Jan-June is FAR too long to go without a substantial break. It only encourages absences.


Let the kids go back to school AFTER Labor Day!!! So many good things overall about doing it this way.... there are plenty of ways to make the calendar work around that...


stevej - please list all the good things overall for doing it this way?


...and the "plenty" of ways to make the calendar work?


what a bunch of hog wash,people don't understand what goes into making a schedule,i think the public knows more than what these people from the board of education are willing to give to the public. school starts after labor day and many of the holidays can be eliminated to reach the prescribed time needed to complete the school year.


Instead of eliminating holidays, why can’t they consolidate all the days with early dismissals or late arrivals. Those are ridiculous. I’ve never seen so many wasted days before.


Agree completely. These are incredibly challenging for working parents also.


Schools are not for baby sitting children during the day for working parents. The school calendar for the next school year is always published many months in advance to give people time to set up schedules.


butterflygirl - [thumbup][thumbup][thumbup] Funny it is always those who have never taught or been involved in public education that complain and say that educators don't understand the impact - like educators aren't part of the community, don't have kids that attend school, etc....


Yup. Right now, the requirement is a certain number of days of education. It should be easy to change the law to have a number of hours instead.


It is actually law how many hours.

Vvvvv http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frmStatutesText.aspx?article=ged&section=7-103&ext=html&session=2020RS&tab=subject5


If you are going to comment on education, please use capital letters and proper punctuation. Did you read the article? The BOE does not make up the calendar alone. There are members from the public on the committee. If you don't like what they do, sign up to join the committee.


Do you really think that they take our thoughts into consideration? I doubt it. They just put that in writing. So, when the decision is made they can say well we didn't decide on this alone when most of us know that is not true.


I love it when people says "they will ignore me so I won't do it" without any evidence at all.

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