Next School Year Likely to Start Earlier to Accommodate Professional Day on Eid Al-Adha

The Board of Education expected to vote Tuesday on a final 2016-2017 school year calendar


Proposed 2016-2017 MCPS school calendar, via MCPS

To make sure Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) students don’t have school on a Muslim holiday, the school system on Tuesday is likely to finalize a revised 2016-2017 calendar that moves up the first day of school.

Last month, the Board of Education directed MCPS staff to come back with a new 2016-2017 calendar proposal that moved a teacher professional day to Monday, Sept. 12.

That date could be Eid al-Adha, the Muslim holiday that Muslims who live in the county have long asked be a day off for students in the same way that schools are closed for Jewish and Christian holidays.

To create an additional day off for students, the Board of Education voted 6-2 to move a teacher professional day—days that students have off but on which teachers work—to Sept. 12.

MCPS Interim Superintendent Larry Bowers is proposing moving one of the three non-negotiated professional days scheduled before school starts in August to Sept. 12. The other professional days have been negotiated with teachers unions for specific dates, the school system said.

To move the professional day, Bowers said the first day of school must be moved to Wednesday, Aug. 24. It was originally slated for Monday, Aug. 29.

“This will allow additional instructional time prior to the professional day on September 12, 2016, and create better alignment for professional days later in the school year than if we were to start school on August, 29, 2016, as I originally had proposed in the school calendar presented November, 10, 2015,” Bowers wrote in a memo to the Board of Education.

Bowers also wrote that teachers’ groups and other stakeholders “provided positive support for moving the opening of school earlier.”

MCPS also will have to move four pre-service teacher professional days to Aug. 18 and 19, and Aug. 22 and 23.

The Board of Education will consider the move at its regular meeting Tuesday.

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