Nov 15 2015

Big School Schedule Changes Begin Next School Year

Long considered changes provide shorter Thanksgiving Break, longer summer vacation, and first semester exams prior to Winter Break in 2016 -17 and 2017 – 18.  

At the October 14 PUSD School Board Meeting it was reported that a majority of the students, parents, and staff were in favor of final exams being before winter break.

On November 10th, the Board of Education approved the 2016-17 and 2017-18 Instructional Calendars for the Piedmont Unified School District,  2016-17 and 2017-18
The calendar highlights are as follows:

  • School begins during the 3rd week of August.
  • Places the end of the first semester prior to the Winter Break.
  • Incorporates a Flexible Professional Development Schedule.
  • School is IN session on Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving Week.
  • Schools are closed during the February President’s Week.
  • Last day of School is June 1st
  • Summer is extended (from the typical 9 weeks) to 10 weeks.


Throughout the fall, as part of the calendar development process, the Association of Piedmont Teachers (APT) and District representatives developed a variety of Instructional Calendar options for consideration.  Although subject to negotiations, the District and APT gave consideration to input from CSEA, parents, and students.  Parents and students (grades 6-12) provided input on the 16-17 and 17-18 Instructional Calendars by participating in separate student and parent surveys.

Finals Prior to Winter Break

One of the District’s goals is to support the social and emotional needs of students by reducing unnecessary student stress.   One way to reduce unnecessary stress is to ensure that school vacations are in fact vacations
from school.  Surveys of District students and families showed strong support for ending the first semester before the Winter break.  In the most recent survey, completed on October 6, 2015, 78% of middle and high school students and 63% of District parents indicated that their “strongest preference for the timing of first semester finals” is before the break (448 students participated in this survey, along with 629 parents).

Calendar Requirements

The Instructional Calendar includes setting the first and last day of school for students, non-school days for students that are either vacation or designated
professional development days for staff. The setting of the semester length, report card grading periods, minimum days, conference days, and testing schedules are not subject to negotiations and are set after the Instructional
Calendar is voted and approved by the APT membership and the Board of Education.
The Instructional Calendar has strict requirements from the State that must be addressed:

  • 180 school attendance days – a day must be at least 325 minutes to count as a day. Funding from the State is calculated based on the attendance rate of students on the designated 180 student days in the calendar.
  • Each grade level must also offer a specified total minimum number of minutes in the 180 days.
  • Each grade level at each school must offer the equal amount of total minutes in the school/District (e.g., all third grades in each of the three elementary schools must offer the same total minutes per year).
  • Prescribed holidays included as part of the calendar with some flexibility when scheduled, except November 11, which is an “immovable holiday” and must be a non-school day if falls between Monday and Friday.
  • Per local agreement, the APT base work year of 185 days that includes 180 student days, 3 professional development days and 2 work days.

   Superintendent Randall Booker

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