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2019-20 Calendar Q&A

12/11/2018

Preguntas y respuestas sobre el calen​dario de 2019-2020.

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What is new about next year's calendar? The academic calendar for the 2019-20 school year will include a September start and four additional student attendance days for teaching and learning.

What are the start and end dates? The first day of school will be Tuesday, Sept. 3 – the day after Labor Day. The last day of school will be Friday, June 5. 

Why are the changes being made?
The state has increased its requirements for the number of required days in a school year. The change is part of the state's evidence-based funding overhaul. Now Illinois schools are required to have a minimum of 176 instructional days, up from 172 in the past. Because of that change, this calendar includes four more instructional days. The delayed calendar start – about 10 days later than usual – will help students and staff avoid 10 days in August that are typically very warm. Many schools do not have central air conditioning.

Will teachers work more days?
No. Teachers will still work 180 days, as outlined in their contract. In the 2019-20 school year, more of those days will include contact with students for teaching and learning.

What about teachers' compensation for working parent/teacher conferences?
In the past, teachers and students would receive two days off to compensate for the extra hours they work to host evening parent/teacher conferences. This was a trade – work a longer day to receive a day off later in the year. For the 2019-20 school year, Human Resources and the Rockford Education Association are working together to compensate teachers on an hourly basis for attendance at parent-teacher conferences instead of scheduling days off. This allows more instructional time for students while being fair to teachers.

What about Fall Break, which includes the Thanksgiving holiday?
Fall Break for 2019-20 year will be Nov. 27-29 (Wednesday through Friday). In the past, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving was a trade day for working conferences. Next school year, it will be considered a "special holiday," with no student or staff attendance.

When is Winter Break?
The 2019-20 Winter Break will be three days shorter than the break in 2018-19. Break will run Dec. 23 through Jan. 1. Classes will resume Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020.

What do we lose in this calendar?
Two SIP Days – for School Improvement Planning – and two days off for teachers to compensate for the additional hours teachers work during parent-teacher conferences. In turn, we'll gain four additional instructional days to comply with the state's new guidelines. Human Resources and the Rockford Education Association are working together to compensate teachers on an hourly basis for attendance at parent-teacher conferences instead of scheduling days off. This allows more instructional time for students while being fair to teachers.

In addition to the September start, how is the 2019-20 calendar different from this year's calendar?
The district's current calendar has three institute days before the start of school and an institute day after the last day of school. Next year's calendar will include three teacher institute days before school starts. Two of those days will be for intensive professional development that drives district priorities. One day will be in the school buildings so leaders and staff can focus on their goals. A fourth institute day is scheduled February 7. 

Has the calendar been finalized?
Rockford School Board approved the calendar at its Dec. 11 meeting. 

Will the September start affect fall athletic schedules?
No. Game schedules will not be delayed. In many sports, competitions will happen before the first day of school.

What dates should I remember?
First day of school: Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019
Fall Break: Nov. 27-29
Winter Break: Dec. 23-Jan. 1
Spring Break: March 16-20
Last day of school: Friday, June 5, 2020

​When is registration?
Elementary registration is Aug. 13; middle and high school registration is Aug. 13-14. 

​When can teachers get into their classrooms to prepare for the year?
At least two weeks before the start of school. The district's facilities staff is committed to having schools clean and ready for teachers to work in their classrooms in August.

How does the September start affect semester exams in December?
Because of the later start, the first semester for high school and middle schools will end in late January. That means high school first semester exams will happen after winter break at the end of January instead of December before winter break. Students and staff will have plenty of time to complete the semester and review before exams.

Is graduation affected?
Starting this spring and continuing next year, graduation will be held after school instead of during the school day. That means school will be in session for freshmen, sophomores and juniors the same day that seniors graduate. The district will no longer hold graduation ceremonies during weekday school hours. This will also add an instructional day for our high school students and staff.