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First draft of 2017-18 Forsyth County student calendar released

2017-18 FCS draft student calendar highlights:

* School begins Thursday, Aug. 3

* One week fall break

* One week Thanksgiving break

* First semester ends prior to holiday break

* Two week holiday break

* One week spring break

* School ends before Memorial Day

* Three early release days (three for parent conferences and one for professional development)

* Summer break is the same length of time as previous years

FORSYTH COUNTY -- The draft calendar for next school year was uploaded to the Forsyth County Schools website Friday after the county’s Board of Education tentatively approved its schedule.

At a work session Thursday afternoon, Deputy Superintendent of Schools Joey Pirkle presented the calendar to the board, which had already been reviewed by local school councils, the cabinet and school principals.

Pirkle said the majority of those consulted liked the schedule and that he and his team were given positive feedback.

“I ask for input from local school councils each year regarding the calendar draft before I send it out,” he said. “Overwhelmingly, the majority of them didn’t have any feedback other than they liked it.”

The draft will be online for two weeks before Pirkle and his team takes it down to make changes that are then presented to the board, which will adopt their final version.

Little has changed from this year’s approved calendar to next year’s, Pirkle said, with school scheduled to start on the first Thursday in August and end in late May.

As proposed, the semesters will be a little more even next year, with the first semester lasting 89 days and the second lasting 91 days.

This year, the semester breakup was 87 and 93 days.

At a work session last month, District 2 board member Kristin Morrissey suggested an FAQ page as well, expressing concern that residents may not be aware the district operates on a 180-day system.

She said she and others have received complaints asking why other counties start the school year later, but appear to end the year at the same time.

“Everybody’s doing 180 days right now; [another county] might just do it differently,” she said. “I don’t think a lot of people know that we work on 180 days. We got to get them in, one way or the other.”

The Georgia Department of Education requires all public schools in the state to hold classes for 180 days, but each county’s school board has the power to determine when to begin and end the school year, when to hold vacation and what, if any, holidays to take off, aside from the mandated federal holidays.

One notable point on the calendar is the possibility of a fall break, which this year was Sept. 26-30.

The district implemented a week off from school in September two years ago, as well as continued the pattern of no inclement weather days due to the availability of their virtual classroom portal, itslearning.

Next year’s fall break is preliminarily scheduled for Sept. 25-29. To view the calendar and submit comments, visit