With all of the redistricting conversations happening I wanted to write up something much less controversial…the HCPSS 2020-2021 proposed academic calendar.

On the agenda at the Howard County Board of Education meeting today at 4:00pm…a report on the 2020-2021 Proposed Academic Calendar will be provided by HCPSS staff.

I would expect that we will get our first look at what the proposed new start date for schools will be….and that should be interesting.

I know the Governor has been advocating to keep the start dates for schools after Labor Day:

Where do you stand on this topic? In favor of keeping the date after Labor Day or pushing the start date back before Labor Day in 2020? Let me know in the comments.

ARTICLE UPDATE: 2 school start dates will be proposed in the report: First Day of School for Students: Aug 25 or Aug 31st

The public will have an opportunity to submit input during Public Hearing scheduled for Oct 17
The Board is scheduled to take Action on Nov 7

Scott E


  1. Personally I don’t think we get much value added, pushing the date before labor day. As a matter of fact other Western countries with top school systems have less school days a year. How do they do it?
    We can keep throwing money at schools hoping it will fix our lower performing schools, but it won’t help. I recommend your blog readers read about the “30 million word gap” that exists between children from well off families and lower income children. By the age of three, most of the important hardwiring in your brain is DONE, and how your parents stimulated you or didn’t is going to effect you for the rest of your lives. At the bare minimal, we should educate and train young mother’s on how critical this time period is with their babies. Ideally, we would cut the school year and expand elementary school starting age to 1.5 years. I know it sounds crazy, but I do think it would solve the problem with low performing schools.

  2. I know that many people, including the Governor, disagree with me. But I believe that we should start school as early as possible in August.

    While not an education expert, I have been a substitute teacher within all the HCPSS high schools for several years, so I feel I have some relevant perspective on the matter.

    My statement is based on two reasons:

    1) The first centers on AP testing dates. Schools in the southern states start much earlier, but all the students in the nation take the AP tests in May at the same time. So, those kids in the South get a head start. Now yes, they might have more vacations in between, but when a student is in AP, usually he/she is assigned work over a vacation, e.g. an in-depth research paper, etc.

    So, the AP students in schools that start earlier, at least theoretically, have the advantage of potentially absorbing the advanced AP curricula over a longer period of time — and also potentially to delve more into that subject. (If AP courses are truly college courses, then the students should be encouraged to go above and beyond just prepping for the tests.)

    Yes, I know, HCPSS students typically score very well with the AP scores — but still, I do see way too many students who take the AP classes eventually opt out to take the test. I always shake my head when I hear that. What a waste, I think to myself. Perhaps giving the students a few weeks more to be more mentally engaged with the subject matter might reduce the number of students who opt out.

    2) Now, I know I am REALLY in the minority on this one, but I’ll state it nonetheless. The long-held tradition of having high schools seniors end their school year soon after the AP tests are given in May, to my mind, is misguided and not benign. Those more expert in educational policy than I may have a different take, but what I see as a sub is just how much disruption and inefficiency having seniors leave early creates in the academic syllabi — across all subjects. If we were to start the schools as early as possible in August, we could have all the students end the the school year at the same time in May, soon after the AP tests are given.

    • Excellent point about AP…I’m an AP teacher and having a start date after Labor Day wrecks havoc on getting as much content to the student as possible..also it forces teachers to give work during vacation days. Starting BEFORE Labor Day is best.

      • I am 100% with you about seniors not getting out early. I’m always shocked that they don’t have to have the mandated 180 school days like everyone else. I mean I could understand a week depending on graduation dates, but a whole month is ridiculous.

  3. If the county is going to continue to grow dual enrollment and JumpStart, it makes sense to start the same week aaa HCC. If HCC starts the week before HCPSS, as it currently does, the classes conflict with sports and marching band, causing students to miss required events or the first week of classes. Additionally, with the later start, and thus the later end, it causes schedule conflicts with a number of summer programs, again either forcing students to not do those programs or miss finals, which they are not allowed to do early.

  4. Starting after Labor Day is a hidden tax on working parents. Summer camps shut down by late August in part because the college kids who staff them have gone back to school. So parents have to take extra time off from work or scramble to find some alternative arrangements. An earlier start is totally reasonable. In September 2020 especially, with Labor Day falling on Sept 7, Aug 31 seems fine to me (Aug 25 is, I admit, a bit early).

  5. After Labor Day start. Pools are closed, vacations are over, camps are done and everyone is ready to start with NO distractions.

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