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Harford schools students' last day in 2019 could be June 7

If there are no inclement weather days in the 2018-19 school year, the last day for students could be June 7, 2019. Classes are set to begin on Sept. 4, 2018 after Labor Day.

The draft calendar for the 2018-19 school year was presented to members of the Harford County Board of Education at their meeting in the school headquarters meeting Monday night.

The proposed calendar was posted online on Tuesday, Oct. 10 and is available for public comment for 60 days, according to Jillian Lader, manager of communications for Harford County Public Schools, who chairs a calendar committee made up of school administrators, parents and business and community representatives, including leaders of local religious congregations.

The board will adopt the calendar following the comment period. The board has the option of making changes to the calendar proposed on Monday.

The next school year will have 180 student days, as required by state law. It will begin Sept. 4, 2018, in accordance with Gov. Larry Hogan’s 2016 edict that the state’s public schools not begin classes until after Labor Day, which is Monday, Sept. 3.

The edict also states classes must end by June 15. Assuming there are no inclement weather days, the last day of school would be Friday, June 7.

The calendar allows for five inclement weather days. These would be added, as needed, during the week of June 10-14 after the scheduled last day. No weather days have been specified in the proposed calendar.

As is designated in this year’s calendar, one three-hour early dismissal day is scheduled each month for professional development. In many cases these coincide with a holiday or other school closure, including an early dismissal on Oct. 18 before schools close Oct. 19 for the state teachers union convention; Nov. 21 before Thanksgiving; Jan. 18 before Martin Luther King Jr. Day; Feb. 15 before Presidents Day; and April 18 before Good Friday.

“That began this year, the 2017-2018 school year, to provide professional development throughout the school year. That was the best way to do it and still include 180 days between Labor Day and June 15,” Lader told the board Monday.

Except for Nov. 5, the day before Election Day, all professional development days are scheduled before the first day of school and after the last day, according to the proposal.

All teachers will have seven days of professional development, from Aug. 23 through Aug. 31, before students begin classes. New teachers will report Aug. 21.

“We’ve conducted approximately six or seven school visits, and even prior to that, we received numerous, numerous comments from school-based administration, the central office, but more importantly the teachers and the support staff about the amount of time they had prior to the start of school,” Superintendent Barbara Canavan said, “and how much easier it was for them and how much calmer it was for them to have that amount of time to prepare for the children.”

Two professional development days are planned at the end of the year, but their dates depend on the last day for students.

The scheduled days off for students are Sept. 10 for Rosh Hashanah; Sept. 19 for Yom Kippur; Oct. 19 for the teachers convention; Nov. 5 and 6 for professional development and Election Day, respectively; Nov. 22 and 23 for Thanksgiving; Dec. 24 to Jan. 1 for winter break; Jan. 21 for Martin Luther King Jr. Day; Feb. 18 for Presidents Day; April 19 and 22 for spring break (Good Friday and Easter Monday); and May 27 for Memorial Day.

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