Howard school board approves 2014-15 academic calendar

The Howard County Board of Education Thursday unanimously approved a school calendar for the 2014-15 academic year, which took into account suggestions from a committee not included in Superintendent Renee Foose’s initial proposal.

When the calendar proposal first came before the board last month, committee members said it was different from the one they had created. They, along with concerned parents, spoke out a public hearing criticizing Foose’s proposal, namely that it cut out half-days, altered the availability of parent-teacher conferences and included only 13 instructional days in November.

“This proposal reflects the committees recommendations, evaluation of data and stakeholder feedback on the original proposal,” said Caryn Lasser, Howard County Public School System’s coordinator of strategic planning.

The approved calendar includes the month of November as suggested by the calendar committee and favored by parents’ testimony: rather than having two three-day weeks at the beginning of the month, there is only one three-day week. Monday, Nov. 3 and Tuesday, Nov. 4 are days off for professional development and elections, and conferences (suggested to be held on full days off of school Nov. 10-11) were again moved to half-days the week of Thanksgiving as they historically have been.

The first day of school is Monday Aug. 25 for students and Monday, Aug. 18 for teachers. Winter break is Wednesday, Dec. 24 through Friday, Jan. 2. Spring break is March 30 through April 6. The last day of school for students is Wednesday, June 10, and Thursday June 11 for teachers.

Next year, the system will return to adding inclement weather days to the end of the academic calendar, rather than building them in. Inclement weather days will again be added as needed to the end of the calendar.

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