How school year calendars are developed

School year calendars are extremely complex. For every change that is made there is a corresponding impact upon some aspect of school or community life. Tweaking of days in the calendar must be done carefully to ensure that an unknown negative consequence has not been created. It is important to note that not all conflict issues can be avoided. Below are just some of the issues that must be considered when creating a school calendar:


  • Additional days of student contact prior to October testing
  • Best practice to increase Annual Yearly Progress attainment
  • Busing
  • Contractual agreements
  • Early end date
  • Early start date
  • Extra-curricular activities
  • Facility construction
  • Graduation dates
  • Half-day usage
  • In-service days (grade reporting)
  • In-service days (parent involvement/teacher compensation)
  • In-service days (professional development)
  • Migrant education issues
  • Parent conferences
  • Parent student release concerns
  • Partial weeks
  • Past attendance trends (before vacations, etc.)
  • Processing and posting of grades
  • Processing time of state tests
  • Professional development “best practice”
  • Semester “number of days” balance
  • Quarters ending before vacations
  • Religious holidays
  • Seasonal concerns (e.g., darkness, weather, etc.)
  • Spring Break and separation from testing
  • State and national calendaring date impacts
  • State fair impact
  • State dictated testing dates
  • Student contact days
  • Contractual agreements relative to paid holidays (all impacted bargaining groups)
  • Summer and fall student employment
  • Testing make-up dates
  • Tourism (e.g., cruise line schedules)
  • Winter sports (e.g., Arctic Winter Games, Fur Rendezvous, etc.)


In the 2006-07 school year, the district implemented a school calendar that started significantly earlier, and finished significantly earlier, than past, traditional ASD calendars. The revision had gone through a great amount public, employee and Anchorage School Board scrutiny. The result was widespread support. The calendar included the following:


  • School start prior to Labor Day
  • Closure prior to Memorial Day
  • Quarters ending prior to Winter and Spring Break
  • Minimum of 170 student contact days (state requirement)
  • “Snow-day”/emergency closure flexibility
  • In-service days (10 allowed by state)
    • Two for teacher set-up and take down (first/last day of calendar)
    • Three for grade reporting and individual teacher planning (included in teacher contract)
    • Two for evening parent conference work compensation
    • Three for cross-district, cross division, and site-based professional development
  • Attention to the following:
    • Potential religious conflicts
    • Testing dates
    • Sufficient time for grade processing
    • Balancing days in each semester


You can learn more about the calendar committee's recommendations for upcoming school years by reading the Anchorage School Board memo regarding calendars for 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19.


All calendar changes and new calendar adoptions will be made in the interest of meeting student instructional and academic performance needs.

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