OHS Grads (copy)

Oakdale High School graduates toss their mortarboards into the air at the conclusion of the 2019 graduation ceremony at Mount St. Mary’s University in May.

In a year when the state gave scheduling power back to local school boards, Frederick County is already exploring more efficient scheduling.

Next school year, Frederick County Public Schools high school graduations will be bumped back a week. Board of Education President Brad Young said at a joint meeting this week of the school board and County Council that graduation dates will be pushed back a week in order to spread them out over the course of five days and have only two ceremonies per day. In past years, the 10 public high school graduations have been the four days after Memorial Day.

Along with the graduation date change, County Councilman Jerry Donald suggested moving forward the start date for schools in order to help with closing the achievement gap. Dates set for standardized tests, from which the achievement gap is measured, are imposed on the county by state and national mandates.

Often, the dates for those are such that students are being tested on material they haven’t yet learned in the curriculum. If the district bumped up its start date, students would have more time to learn the material for the tests and the school system could make strides in closing the achievement gap, Donald said.

Donald, who is also an FCPS teacher, added that start dates for fall sports and extracurricular activities, such as band, which is usually Aug. 1, would not have to be changed. The change could occur over several years, Donald said.

The schedule change is an option now because the Maryland General Assembly overturned an executive order from Gov. Larry Hogan that required schools in Maryland to start after Labor Day. The change gave full school calendar scheduling back to each local board of education.

“I understand the governor’s thinking,” Donald said. “I just think he shot for the wrong holiday.”

The mandate should have required schools finish before Memorial Day, Donald said.

In other business, Young also informed the council that 2,096 students had graduated from FCPS high schools this year, with 25 gaining admittance to Ivy League colleges and universities.

A large portion of the meeting focused on the Educational Facilities Master Plan for fiscal 2021. The Board of Education and Janice Spiegel, education liaison to the county executive, informed the council that school projects for Brunswick and Liberty Elementary had been moved into the fiscal 2021 facilities plan, although these were simply recommendations.

These projects could be pushed depending on factors that come into play over the next two years. But the projects had to be listed since they were considered “needs” of the school district.

There was also a short discussion of the Linganore-Oakdale-Urbana redistricting project. FCPS Chief Operating Officer Paul Lebo said refinements will be made to the draft options that had been presented to the public in June before the superintendent makes her formal recommendation to the school board in September.

The last joint meeting with the two boards was held 18 months ago, and no date has been set for the next joint meeting.

Follow Katryna Perera on Twitter: @katrynajill.

(24) comments

Reader1954

why can't they just keep June as an open ending. If you need more days then end later in June. It is not that complicated

neilyoungfan25

If Jerry pushes for an earlier back to school start date than after Labor Day, it will be a political downfall for him. Hasn’t he seen all the polls that a huge majority of MD residents want to keep the after a Labor Day start date??

ResUrbana

My thoughts exactly!

duffy5x

Post Labor Day is a bad idea. A huge majority? Oh please....

richardlyons

Here's a thought; only parents with school age students and Ocean City business owners care.

Moon otter

Actually any business in the summer cares. Even your state parks care because they hire students for the summer. Hogan did what was right.

Moon otter

First eliminate what I call out service days oh wait I mean in service days. Put them before Labor Day for teachers like three days, then do half days mixed throughout the school year. You can get the 180 days in with no problem. Did it when I was in school but then in my last two years they started school in August with two days before Labor Day for students. I am talking in the late 70's. Now it is more till Hogan stepped in. Hogan did right.

gilly313

The "in service" days as you call them are contractually required teacher work days, so those are not going away anytime soon. They are a mix of full days and two hour early release days throughout the school year.

Moon otter

By whom so teachers can sit and listen to someone blab, who has probably never sat in a classroom. Like I said you can put them at the beginning of the year and do half days for kids with the other half a day for the out service days. Sprinkle them throughout the year. You do realize a half day counts towards a full day of instruction.

butterflygirl

You have no real idea of the work required by teachers.

gilly313

Teachers already do a full week of work before classes begin. The work days are also already sprinkled throughout the school year. Half days do not count as full days. That is why they are called HALF DAYS. To minimize the impact on class time several of the work days are implemented as 2 hour early student release days. @ hour early release days count as a full instruction day and cause minimal loss of instructional time. As far as "listening to someone blab" that sounds like you mean professional development. A lot of professional development is done during teacher planning time on normal schooldays.

duffy5x

Another do it like the "good old days." Yes, those days were old. Good...not so much.

butterflygirl

Teachers work a FULL week before students arrive. Teachers work on teacher work days. Do you have any idea the paperwork that is NOW required of teachers? Education has changed since the 70’s.

herndoncrew

No one needs 11 weeks off in summer, 8 weeks is plenty!!! Fix it!!!

shiftless88

I think they are trying to. The Governor fixed the start dates and end dates.

LeonardKeepers

the school systems needs to cut out many of the holidays,they do not need a week off for spring break.they cut these days they will have time to finish the school year before the middle of June.school should start the day after labor day.

marinick1

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

shiftless88

Hey Leonard; get with the times! Take a look at the 2018-2019 calendar; spring break was a Thursday, Friday and Monday. Not all week.

butterflygirl

Please look at school calendars. FCPS students do not have a week off for spring break.

niceund

Start date should be day after Labor Day. If students were not off multiple days every other week at the beginning of the session, they might be able to learn a little more from teachers that are actually in the classroom.

marinick1

[thumbup][thumbup]

DickD

Maybe the practice dates are not affected but the first football game has been pushed back a full week this fall. Last year the first game was played in August, this year it will be September 6.

Moon otter

oh that is terrible for football. Lol

gilly313

The 1st date for practices this year is not until Aug 14th. That is why the first play date for all sports is Sept 6th. Those dates are set by the MPSSAA, not FCPS or State school board.

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