The Falls Church City Public Schools will begin classes two weeks prior to Labor Day next fall, on Aug. 24, based on a 4-2 vote by the School Board Tuesday night. The new calendar will conclude the school year next spring with graduation on June 2 and the last day of school on June 10.
The changes, the first allowed by the state legislature since it permitted classes to begin before Labor Day last spring, brings the Falls Church system into alignment with the much larger, adjacent Fairfax County school system. They come after months of study by an ad hoc committee of teachers, staff, parents, students and administrators and a widespread public survey. The policy shift, advocated by Superintendent Peter Noonan, also led to an outpouring of opposition from parents who argued that, among other things, there is no evidence showing SOL tests would improve, the school system would risk losing teachers and summer vacation plans would be disrupted.
Noonan, in a letter to the FCCPS teachers and staff issued Wednesday morning, said that the FCCPS has advocated for the change for more than two decades before the legislature finally acted last spring, and added that, “In the end, the calendar adopted provides more days of instruction prior to exams, upholds our commitments to equity by providing earlier access to our curriculum and instruction, aligns with regional jurisdictions and provides for a two-week winter break, a three-day Thanksgiving break and an earlier end to the school year.”