By Fargo Public Schools Associate Superintendent Dr. Robert Grosz
Last week, Fargo Public Schools high school seniors, parents, and staff members received an email asking them to take part in the 2018–19 school year Calendar Committee survey. Although the 2018–19 school year seems like a long time into the future, Fargo Public Schools strives to develop school calendars two years in advance so that students, parents, and staff have the opportunity to plan ahead for school-related and family-related activities that impact students. As of Tuesday, February 7 (when this article was written), 134 high school seniors and 2,527 parents and staff have already taken the survey. After the survey closes on February 8, the compiled data will be posted on the calendars page of the District website so students, parents and staff can review the data that they helped create. The compiled survey results will provide data to this year’s Calendar Committee to utilize as they develop the 2018–19 school calendar.
The Calendar Committee, which is comprised of elementary, middle school, and high school teachers and principals, central office administrators, a school board member, parents, and students (one high school student from each high school) will meet during the months of January and February to develop a draft calendar. The committee will be asked to go back to their peer groups between meetings to gather input and possible modifications to the working draft. This input will then be utilized in the subsequent working drafts of the calendar. Once the group agrees upon a draft calendar, it will be shared with the City PTA Council for their review and input. Finally, the draft calendar will be shared with the School Board for review and input.
During their work, the committee will endeavor to ensure that all requirements addressed in state statute or accreditation are met with the calendar, in addition to all contractual obligations of the teacher’s contract. These include: 175 full days of instruction, three legal holidays, two contracted holidays, two state association professional conference days, four parent-teacher conference days, two storm days, and seven staff professional development days. All of these requirements can be found in the 2016–17 School Calendar and the 2017–18 School Calendar.
After review of collected data, solicited feedback from partner organizations, and careful deliberation, the Calendar Committee will present a final draft of the Fargo Public Schools 2018–19 school calendar to the Fargo School Board for final approval later this spring.