Letters to the Editor: February 13 – 19, 2020
F.C. Schools Should Start On August 31st, Not 24th
We are dissatisfied with the outcome of the Dec. 17 school board meeting and the school calendar change to Aug. 24. One of the main reasons the superintendent cited for the change was to align with other nearby school districts. Alexandria City Public Schools voted not to change its calendar and since the Dec. 17 vote, Arlington Public schools voted to change its start date to Aug. 31. The Falls Church City Public Schools calendar change does nothing to help our teachers. Not only did Arlington change its calendar to Aug. 31, but their teachers will return to work on Aug. 24 which aligns with the school start date in the Fairfax County Public Schools. This will help Arlington to retain and reward its teachers. As our adopted calendar stands, our teachers return to school on Aug. 13, eight working days before the Fairfax County Public Schools students return to school, 12 days before the Arlington Public Schools students return and 16 days before the Alexandria City Public Schools students return.
We are urging the F.C. School Board to reconsider the school start date and allow our teachers to return to work on Aug. 24 as well. As it stands, teachers may leave our schools to work in districts with more favorable calendars.
Other school districts are citing improved AP and IB tests as the only educational benefit for the change. There is no significant data supporting a benefit to at-risk students’ test scores that was so vehemently discussed at the board meeting in December. I am a former teacher of at-risk students in both Newark, New Jersey and the Bronx and know that in order for these students to be successful, school districts need to retain experienced quality teachers.
We hope the school board will reconsider their decision and work to support all the families, students and teachers in the Falls Church City Public Schools.
Scott and Cheryl Bois
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