BCSD considering calendar options for 2024-25 school year

Stakeholders asked to answer calendar survey, offer input

The Berkeley County School Board is currently considering three potential instructional calendars for the 2024-2025 school year.

The calendars were developed by the Division of Academics and Innovation Committee, who met four times with school principals, teachers, parents, and district staff to develop the drafts.

Jen Croley, executive director of Academics and Innovation, told the board at the Feb. 5 meeting, “Based on feedback we've received in the past from our stakeholders, there is a strong desire to align our instructional calendar with our neighboring counties.”

The committee presented its original two draft calendars to BCSD teachers, staff members, parents, and students through a survey, which opened on Jan. 31. Croley advised that as of Feb. 5, over 1,800 teachers, 731 non-teaching personnel, over 5,000 parents, and 475 students completed the survey and voted on which calendar they preferred.

The first two calendar options offered were as follows:

Option 1:

  • Teachers return to school on Aug. 1
  • School begins for students on Thursday, Aug. 8
  • A two-day fall break from Oct. 14 to 15
  • A full week off for Thanksgiving
  • Last day before winter break is Dec. 20
  • Teachers return for a workday on Jan. 3
  • Students return to school on Jan. 6
  • Spring break from April 14 to 18 to align with Easter holiday
  • Last day for students is Thursday, May 29

Option 2:

  • Teachers return to school on Aug. 1
  • School begins for students on Thursday, Aug. 8
  • One day of fall break on Oct. 14
  • A full week off for Thanksgiving
  • Last day before winter break is Dec. 20
  • Teachers return for a workday on Jan. 6
  • Students return to school on Jan. 7
  • Spring break from March 24 to 29 with offices closed Monday, April 21, after Easter
  • Last day for students is Thursday, May 29

Both options for the 2024-2025 calendar have a student start date of Aug. 8. The major difference between the two options is the timing of spring break.

As of 3 p.m. on Feb. 5, Option 1 narrowly emerged as the preferred choice with 51%, while Option 2 garnered 49%.

In response to the survey results, BCSD board members asked the Division of Academics and Innovation to develop a third calendar option to match as “closely to Charleston County as possible,” said board chairman Mac McQuillin. The proposed third option was later released on Feb. 9. The differences are as follows:

Option 3:

  • Teachers return to school on Aug. 7
  • School begins for students on Wednesday, Aug. 14
  • No fall break
  • Three days off for Thanksgiving break
  • Last day before winter break is Dec. 20
  • Teachers return for a workday on Jan. 6
  • Students return to school on Jan. 7
  • Spring break from April 14 to 18 to align with Easter holiday
  • Last day for students is Thursday, May 29

To compare, the 2023-2024 BCSD instructional calendar began school on Monday, Aug. 21, and had a two-day fall break. Winter break was Dec. 22 to Jan. 4, spring break is set for April 1-5 and the last day for students will be May 30.

District parents and teachers shared their thoughts on the 2024-2025 calendar options.

Elizabeth Murray said she voted for Option 1. “I love a full Thanksgiving and Christmas break.”

Angel Adkins, a special education resource at Cross High School, voted for Option 2. “I like the idea of spring break in March. The kids are ready for a break because it’s a long stretch between January and May, so halfway between is great for them!”

Others, like BCSD parent Toni Higgs, were frustrated there wasn’t an option for year-round schooling. “The kids do not need those long summers. They need to be able to retain knowledge and to have breaks throughout the year.”

Berkeley County parents and teachers can vote for their preferred instructional calendar. To cast your vote, visit the online survey now.

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