The Rockford Public Schools 2019-20 academic calendar will include a September start and four additional days for teaching and learning. The School Board approved the calendar at its meeting tonight. The first day of school will be Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019 – the day after Labor Day. This is about 10 days later than the current calendar. The delayed start will help students and staff avoid 10 days in August that are typically very warm, as many schools do not have central air conditioning. The last day of school will be Friday, June 5, 2020.
Extra instructional days: The state changed its calendar requirements, which 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, next year's academic calendar includes four more instructional days at elementary and middle schools for teaching and learning. RPS 205 high schools will have five more instructional days. 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 seniors graduate.
More time for teachers: Because of the September start, the district will use some days in August for professional development for teachers. Special training for teachers and staff will be frontloaded at the beginning of the school year instead of spaced out over the course of the year. In addition to time for professional development, the district's facilities staff is committed to having schools clean and ready for teachers to work in their classrooms in August at least two weeks before the start of school.
"The state gave us flexibility in adding instructional time, and we're using that to better prepare ourselves for the school year," said Superintendent Ehren Jarrett. "This adjustment allows us to both limit our high-risk hot weather days and invest in our teachers at the very start of the school year."
Semester exams in January: Because of the later start, first semester for high school and middle school will end in late January instead of December. That means high school first semester exams will happen after winter break at the end of January instead of before winter break in December. Students and staff will have time in January to review for exams.
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
For more information about the calendar, visit the 2019-20 Calendar Q&A.
Visit the 205 VIBE for a video with Superintendent Ehren Jarrett explaining the changes.