Revised 2020-21 academic calendar
10/1/2019 – At the September 25 meeting, the Parkway Board of Education approved the revised academic calendar for the 2020-21 school year.
Calendar highlights include:
- First day of school - Monday, August 24, 2020
- Fall break - Friday, October 9 to Monday, October 12
- Thanksgiving break - November 25 to 27
- Winter break – December 23 to January 4; students back to school Tuesday, January 5
- High school finals – January 12-14
- Spring break – March 19-26
- Last day of school – June 3
Nine early release days were placed on the 2020-21 calendar for teacher professional development, in place of late start days. This decision was made after a calendar survey in December of 2018 where parents and staff both indicated a preference for 2-hour early release days over late starts.
Background on change of the 2020-21 school calendar
As we shared over the last few months, there is a new state law that impacts school calendars and prevents schools from starting more than 14 days before the first Monday in September. The law takes effect in the 2020-21 school year and the earliest date school can begin in 2020 is August 24. The new law required Parkway to revise its 2020-21 academic calendar. We collaborated with various stakeholders regarding the revision to the 2020-2021 school calendar, including teachers, administrators, and the community. We sent out a Thoughtexchange survey for feedback and here are some of the themes we heard:
- A top comment was to complete high school finals before winter break. As we previously shared, we prefer this scenario as well. However, the way to accomplish this is to have two very unbalanced semesters. Because of the later start in August, the first semester would be much shorter in order to complete finals before the break. We feel this is unfair to students. If you are taking a course during the first semester you would have far less time to learn and master the curriculum. We will continue to watch this closely and evaluate the impact of finals and winter break for future years.
- Over 40 percent of the total comments indicated support for a later start date in August and the proposed calendar, given the circumstances and new law.
- There were many thoughts about how other districts in the area are planning to adjust calendars. We have reviewed all of the draft calendar plans for all districts in the St. Louis area and superintendents have met to discuss plans. Many of our neighboring districts have very similar plans for the 2020-21 calendar.
- Most prefer to have snow days built into the calendar and made up during the school year.
Here are a few items we still needed to consider in developing the new calendar:
- Even with a later start date in August, the state still requires students to attend the same amount of time (hours) as before.
- The state requires school districts to attend a minimum of 1,044 hours of school each year. Parkway typically attends about 1,080 hours. The extra hours allow us to ensure students can master the curriculum and also build snow makeup time into the calendar. The state requires 36 hours minimum of snow/weather makeup time to be identified on the calendar. By building in the time, the only possible snow makeup time that might be needed is Friday, March 19, 2021 or some hours where students are already attending (half days, early release days indicated on the calendar). This could guarantee that the last day of school will be June 3.
We also needed to consider the number of teacher contractual days per our Agreement with PNEA, which is 191 days. Teacher workdays outlined in the contract include:
- Workdays prior to the start of school to be used for building development, district development, required training and set up for school year.
- Fall parent-teacher conference exchange day
- Records/grading days
- Paid holidays
- One PD day to be determined between July 1, 2020-June 30, 2021 outside of any other identified workday