NORWALK, Conn. -- The Norwalk Board of Education has approved school district calendars for both 2016-17 and 2017-18.
This is the first time Norwalk Public Schools has confirmed two school-year calendars at once. The district notes that doing so will give families and community organizations a head start on planning.
These calendars are designed to increase instruction time, as part of the district's goal to "Raise the Bar & Close the Gap" -- especially in the months before key state tests in the spring. The district said that other changes were influenced by new guidelines under state law for regional uniform school calendars, which include a common start date, uniform professional development days and three uniform vacation periods.
Districts could use up to five flexible days, however, to customize for local needs. Highlights of the new calendars include:
first day of school: Norwalk is using one "flexible day" to start school the Wednesday before Labor Day.
staggered entry for kindergartners: Half the kindergarten class will begin on the Wednesday before Labor Day, the second half will begin the next day, and they'll all be in school together on the third day.
sixth-grade orientation: Incoming sixth-graders will have a district-wide orientation day.
Columbus Day: Columbus Day will no longer be a day off, adding an extra instructional day to the month.
elementary conferences: To maximize the effectiveness of elementary conferences, they will be in December and March. The new timing better aligns with when trimester progress reports will be available.
Presidents Day weekend: Beginning in 2016-17, the March professional development day will be shifted to the Thursday before the Presidents Day holiday weekend; students will be off that day. Friday, Feb. 17, will be designated a holiday for students and teachers.
end of year: Early dismissal days at the end of the year will be reduced from five to two.
The district has also updated the calendars format, to make them easier to understand. The district also plans to continue approving calendars two years at a time in the future.
To view the calendars, click here.
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