School board talks 2018-19 calendar, parent feedback
Proposed start date Aug. 2; end date May 24

A draft of the 2018-19 school calendar remained unchanged at a board of education work session earlier this week and will most likely be approved as-is at the board’s regular meeting next week.

The draft calendar looks slightly different from the last few years and has 179 student school days instead of the typical 180.

Deputy Superintendent of Schools Joey Pirkle previously said this is because of a proposed additional professional development day on Jan. 7, which would also mean students would return from their holiday break on a Tuesday.

“We’re fine with that [number] based on the number of instructional minutes that we have,” he said. “Typically, that’s that we go by and we have ample instructional minutes as far as the state Department of Education is concerned.”

According to Pirkle, Forsyth County Schools received 1,083 responses when the draft went online for viewing in mid-October through the 27th, when commenting was closed.

Usually, he said, the district receives about 2,000 responses, though parents still made up the majority of the feedback this year, submitting 847 comments.

“The common threads throughout the feedback were relatively similar to what we’ve received over the past few years,” Pirkle said. “There were several comments from folks who like the calendar, there were comments from folks saying that they wish we started later, but a lot of people like the fall break and ending before Memorial Day … and it’s not possible to start later, have a fall break and end before Memorial Day — [all] those things can’t happen, so I did not make any changes to the calendar.”

The current proposed school start date is Aug. 2 and the last day is proposed to be May 24. This year, Forsyth County Schools started on Aug. 3 and will end on May 25.

FCS Superintendent Jeff Bearden previously said the additional professional day came out of requests by staff and teachers to have a full professional day, rather than several half-days throughout the year, as has been the case for several years.

“We’ve heard a great deal from our teachers that they need more [full days] and we hear that from our principals as well,” he said. “Half days are not popular at all with our community — it creates a lot of logistical hardships and we understand that. We’ve also found that over the years, we’re more productive if we have a full day of professional development than a half day because in the life of a teacher, you’re working all morning and your mind’s focused there and to make that transition into professional development is really challenging.”

The board will vote on the calendar at a public meeting Tuesday. Residents can sign up to speak.

To view the calendar, visit forsyth.k12.ga.us.