School calendar approved for next two years

Highlight includes full week off at Thanksgiving, gradual return to 180 days

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NORTH FULTON, Ga. – Parents can go ahead and make vacation and holidays plans for the next two years with the approval of the school calendar through 2015 for Fulton County students.

In a unanimous vote by the Fulton County Board of Education, the calendar includes a short break in October as well as a full-week break in November at the Thanksgiving holiday — a plus for schools that traditionally see attendance plummet during Thanksgiving week.

Both calendars also include a two-week holiday break in late December/early January as well as a weeklong spring break in April, which is designed to align with most metro area school systems.

“We asked the community for their input, and parents and school staff expressed a desire to have a more traditional calendar with well-timed breaks that invigorate students and teachers,” said Fulton Superintendent Robert Avossa.

More than 1,300 comments were received in an online survey that asked respondents for feedback on their thoughts on the school calendar. Avossa said the focus of the calendar would be on how to positively impact student achievement.

Community input also indicated an interest in returning to a traditional 180-day calendar. For budgetary reasons, the calendar was trimmed to 177 days for the past two years, with minutes added to the day to achieve he equivalence of a mandated 180-days of instruction. The end result was lopsided semesters.

The approved 2013-2014 calendar continues at 177 days, but the 2014-2015 calendar includes 178 school days for students. For future calendars, the district anticipates adding one school day a year until it returns to a 180-day school year. There has been no decision made on whether minutes will be deducted from the school day in return for adding three days to the calendar.