The PGCPS School Calendar is developed by a committee representing stakeholders, including teachers, school administrators, parents, PTAs, higher education and union leaders. PGCPS offices whose work is developed around the school calendar also have representation on the committee, including academics, human resources, payroll, business management, testing, transportation, student applications and labor relations.
This year, nearly 80 percent of internal and external stakeholders indicated a preference for a school calendar that preserved spring break. Additionally, there was strong support to preserve the Wednesday before Thanksgiving as an additional day off. Input from all stakeholders is critical when developing a school calendar that best meets the needs of our school community. In addition to representation on the committee, stakeholders can share their input through an online school calendar survey. All Maryland public school calendars must be developed to accommodate the following state mandates:
- 180-day school year
- 13 public school holidays – Thanksgiving (Thursday and Friday), week of Christmas (5 days), New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, Easter Holidays (Friday and Monday) and Memorial Day
- First day for students after Labor Day
- Last day for students on or before June 15
Individual counties must also build a calendar that supports their labor contracts, including professional development days, grading days and other negotiated items.
Calendars must also include inclement weather makeup days. This year’s calendar planned for five inclement weather makeup days, one more day than has been previously scheduled:two inclement weather make-up days were built into the school calendar at the end of fourth quarter (June 14 and 15). February 9, April 5 and April 6 were designated as three additional makeup days, to be used as needed.
Unfortunately, with the unusual wind storm on March 2 and the late-season snow on March 21 and 22 we were forced to utilize both inclement weather makeup days during spring break (April 5 and 6), as well as request the Board of Education to approve a sixth inclement weather makeup day on April 4.
We requested a waiver by the Maryland State Board of Education for March 2, as Governor Hogan declared a state of emergency that day. If this is approved, we may be able to restore April 4 as part of spring break. However, the state has granted no waivers so far and it has tightened the waiver process, making it extremely difficult for school districts to get waivers for anything under 10 inclement weather days.
It is important to note that all districts in Maryland are struggling to develop school calendars under these new parameters. PGCPS will remain focused on creating a school calendar that reflects the preferences of its stakeholders and meets all state mandates.