The Valley Park School District Board of Education approved the 2020-2021 School District Calendar at the November 20th board meeting.
The 2020-2021 calendar reflects changes that have been established by new state statutes, including that Missouri schools are prevented from starting more than 14 days before the first Monday in September. The law takes effect in the 2020-2021 school year, and the earliest date school can begin is August 24th.
The finalized and board-approved calendar was designed in collaboration with various stakeholders, including teachers, administrators, and parents.
Some areas to notice include:
• 1st day of school—Monday, August 24th.
• We will be adding instructional minutes to the school day next year. The elementary and secondary schools will all attend 420 minutes a day.
• Our elementary currently (2019-2020) attends 390 minutes and our secondary schools 400 minutes.
• By adjusting our instructional minutes, we can place a greater emphasis on academics and exceed the minimum required instructional hours of 1044 established by the state legislature.
• We believe going above the minimum hours gives our students an academic and social advantage.
• The extra time allows us to ensure students can master the curriculum and builds snow makeup time into the calendar.
• It also aligns more closely with our county peers' current instructional day.
• Snow days have been built into the calendar. The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) requires 36 hours minimum of snow/weather makeup time to be identified on the calendar.
• This adjustment guarantees that the last day of school will be May 27th. Even if we were to have several snow days, our hours would still exceed the minimum requirements.
• This means we will no longer add or subtract school days from year to year.
• High School Final Exams—January 13-15th
• Like many districts and educators, we prefer exams before winter break. However, to balance semesters and protect our student's social-emotional balance over designated breaks, we opted to move them to January. Otherwise, students taking a course during the first semester would have far less time to learn and master the curriculum than their peers in the spring semester. We have reviewed many draft calendar plans for other districts in the St. Louis area, and most have very similar plans for the 2020-2021 calendar.
Areas to still be explored and determined include:
• Bell Schedules (including start and stop times) for the elementary, middle, and high school.
• Transportation times.
• The development of the 2021-2022 calendar.
Thanks to all those involved who collaborated to create a student-centered calendar for 2020-2021.