School Systems Adapt to Legislature’s School Calendar Mandate

Superintendents and other school district leaders across the state are working on developing new calendars to fit the requirements of the Flexible School Calendar Act of 2012. Prior to the law passing, no school system in Alabama had a calendar for next year that would be suitable under the new law. The Alabama State Department of Education hosted a webinar for school districts informing them of potential consequences of cutting school days in exchange for adding a few minutes to each day.

The superintendents of Huntsville City, Madison City, and Madison County have proposed a shared calendar for the three school districts. The calendar retains the 180-day school year by eliminating fall break, reducing Christmas break to eight days, and dropping the Presidents’ Day and Columbus Day breaks. Students will have Labor Day, Veterans Day, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day off, and Thanksgiving break will be three days. The full story can be found here.

Other districts that are cutting breaks during the school year to keep the 180-day year are Montgomery, Tuscaloosa County, Birmingham City, Trussville, Midfield, and Tarrant. Montgomery Public Schools is shortening the Thanksgiving and Winter Breaks and rescheduling some professional development days.Tuscaloosa County is now holding classes on six days that students previously had off: Labor Day, part of fall break, Presidents’ Day, and a few teacher work days and weather days. Birmingham City, Trussville, Midfield, and Tarrant are reducing the number of days off for Christmas break.

On the other hand, Hoover, Mountain Brook, Vestavia, and Homewood are shortening the school year from 180 days to 177 days and adding a few minutes to each day. This Associated Press story and this WSFA story have more information about how different school systems are handling the new calendar situation.

Mobile County has come up with three possible options. One preserves the 180-day school year by shortening the Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Mardi Gras breaks. Another proposes a 170-day year with twenty-five additional minutes in each school day. The last plan includes a 173-day year with eighteen additional minutes in each day. All three plans give students a week off for spring break, and holidays on Labor Day, Veterans Day, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The full story on Mobile County’s proposed calendars is here.