The Forsyth County Board of Education has approved a calendar for the upcoming 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years.
At the November regularly-scheduled board meeting Tuesday, members unanimously approved the proposed calendars, which have not changed since they were first presented to the board during its October meeting.
Both of the calendars are similar to the current 2018-19 calendar, with a few minor differences that include:
• The 2019-20 school year has a proposed start date of Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019, while the 2020-21 school year has a start date of Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020. The 2019-20 school year will end on Friday, May 22, 2020, while the 2020-21 school year will end on Wednesday, May 26, 2021.
• Fall break dates are different for the two calendars — Fall break 2019 is proposed for Sept. 30 to Oct. 4, while fall break 2020 would be Sept. 21-25.
• Both calendars share an extra day off in the second week of March.
The full calendars can be found at the links below, or by visiting the Forsyth County School System at www.forsyth.k12.ga.us.
According to Forsyth County Schools Director of Communication Jennifer Caracciolo, this is the first time that the board has approved a school calendar two years out. She said they decided to take the measure at the suggestion of community members who want to plan farther in advance.
Caracciolo said that this approval is the product of a long feedback process that took into account responses from parents, teachers, local leaders, students and administration.
At a work session the previous week, Deputy Superintendent of Schools Joey Pirkle told the board that over the last months the system received more than 3,000 responses from the community, with mostly positive reactions to the proposed calendars.
"For the parent responses, about 54 percent approved the draft of the calendar as it was, 43 percent requested a later start date," Pirkle said, explaining the results for the 2019-20 calendar. "There’s nothing really a-typical about the feedback from our years past."
He said that for the 2019-20 school year, 71 percent of staff approved the calendar as it was, while 28 percent requested a later start date.
For the 2020-21 calendar, Pirkle said that 61 percent of parents and 82 percent of staff responded positively.
Pirkle also focused on a percentage of parents and staff that expressed some concern for the dates for 2019-20 fall break, with 22 percent of parents and 10 percent of staff requesting to move fall break to the last full week in September.
On this point, Pirkle reminded the board that this change in fall break is only a part of the 2019-20 calendar, and will return to the last week of September for the 2020-21 calendar.
"That is not going to be typical, we are going to go back as you can see from the 2020-21 calendar," he said.
After hearing the percentages, Forsyth County School Superintendent Jeff Bearden voiced his approval of the numbers and the process, stating that they showed a positive trend."That's really pretty positive when you look at it overall," Bearden said. "I realize it’s never going to be 100 percent, but when you add those together ... that’s a pretty positive trend."