Mid August School Start in 2018 - 2019
by Jim Hopkins, school board member
In the Orange County School Board meeting on June 26, 2017, the Calendar Committee
presented a draft school calendar for the 2018 -2019 school years. It was presented
a year in advance because the first day of school is proposed to be Monday August 13,
2018. Please be aware this recommendation does not affect the up coming school
year. The first day of school in 2017 will be on Monday August 28.
Starting public schools in early or mid August has been a growing trend in Virginia
for the last ten years. Five years ago, the school board discussed opening the school
year in early August but at that time the school board decided to maintain our current schedule.
In the 2018-2019 school year, both Culpeper and Spotsylvania county school systems
will be starting in early or mid August. Most of our other adjacent counties are currently
starting the school year earlier than Orange County.
The decision by our adjacent counties does affect Orange because we interact with
these school systems. The most obvious interaction would be our high school sports
program. Orange County has only one high school, therefore our sport competitions
are with high schools in surrounding counties. If the school systems have similar
school calendars, it enhances our ability to schedule these activities.
Interaction between counties also affects our academic program. The Orange
County School System participates in several regional programs that involve
surrounding counties. The Piedmont Regional Education Program is a public
regional program designed to meet the needs of special education
students. The Blue Ridge Virtual Governor’s School is a program for academically
advanced students in high school. Both these programs involve schools in other
counties and if the participating schools have similar calendars, it is advantageous
for the teachers and students.
For the reasons stated above, I am inclined to support the draft calendar for
the 2018-2019 school year.