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Forsyth County unveils school 2016-17 calendar
Public input sought through Nov. 2

Update on the redistricting map

A committee presented the second of three drafts to the Forsyth County Board of Education at its work session Thursday, with no recommended changes from the first.

The drafts are of redistricting maps to populate Brandywine Elementary and DeSana Middle schools, which are under construction and scheduled to open in fall 2016.

The board will review community feedback and concerns before voting whether to approve the draft at a public meeting, set for 6 p.m. Oct. 15.

If approved, the draft would be available to the public Oct. 16-26 for another round of input, during which times public forums will be held.


-- Kayla Robins

FORSYTH COUNTY — Forsyth County students, parents and teachers have until Nov. 2 to review and provide feedback on the proposed calendar for next school year.

The 2016-17 Forsyth County Schools calendar posted Friday shows largely the same dates as this year, with main highlights including the same week-long fall break and no inclement weather days.

A committee gathered input from local school councils before presenting the draft to the Board of Education at a work session Thursday.

According to Joey Pirkle, deputy superintendent of schools, 30 of the district’s 35 school councils provided feedback on next year’s calendar. Of those councils, 20 said they like the calendar as is, while the other 10 recommended changes.

The two most common recommendations among the 10 involved school breaks.

A request to move winter break back a couple days, they said, would prevent staff from having to return to work the day after New Year’s Day and would give families more time to travel home after the holiday.

This shift -- not a change in the number of days -- would also help even out the number of days in the first and second semester.

As proposed, winter break would begin Dec. 21 and end Jan. 4.

Staff would return on Jan. 4 for a professional development day, and students would return on Jan. 5.

This would give 87 days to the first semester and 93 in the second; this year, there are 85 in the first and 95 in the second, Pirkle said.

This change was implemented and is reflected in the draft presented to the board.

The other recommendation, however, was not implemented.

A request to move the early release professional development day from Wednesday, Aug. 31, to Friday, Sept. 2, was not beneficial to students and teachers, Pirkle said.

The Friday afternoon before a long weekend with a Monday holiday is not the “optimal day/time for professional learning. We also believe this could hurt attendance.”

Only two schools said to eliminate or shorten fall break and start later.

The calendar, if approved, would include the district’s second year of having a fall break at the end of September.

Overall feedback on this year’s pioneer week-long September break was positive, multiple BOE members said. Many of them who received negative comments leading up to that week said most people changed their minds after going on vacation.

However, not all families could afford to take a trip, said Ann Crow, board member for District 1, which includes Cumming.

She noted single mothers who still had to work through the week were burdened.

Other highlights of the proposed calendar include school beginning on Thursday, Aug. 4; school ending before Memorial Day; and four early release days – three for parents conferences and one for professional development.

A draft with potential changes will be presented to the BOE at their Nov. 12 work session before they vote on it during their monthly meeting Nov. 19.