Based on feedback from a survey Albemarle County Schools put out last week, more instructional time, spreading teacher workdays, and time for holidays are what parents want to see as priorities in next year's school calendar.
It's a unique approach for the county and part of an ongoing effort to let the community chime in before taking action. We saw it with redistricting, with strategic planning and now the calendar.
The survey was designed to see how people feel about the current calendar so the administration can adjust for next year.
The most significant findings were that people liked this year's change to have spring break start at the end of March instead of the first full week of April, and the new policy to not make up the first two days schools are closed because of inclement weather.
But Assistant Superintendent Matt Haas says people did not like the idea of half days. “We had a tradition of half days at the high school for exams, and we wanted to get in another professional development day. Instead of lumping in a workday and having it the same for everybody, we broke it out more than two half days," he stated.
About 1,300 participated in the survey, about 70 percent of them parents.
For a lot of people a calendar may not seem like a critical issue, but the county has to follow state mandates in terms of providing adequate instruction time.