Farmington Public Schools will, for the first time in about 15 years, start school before Labor Day.
A 2005 Michigan law aimed at boosting tourism mandates a post-Labor Day start. Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s Executive Order closing schools in April due to the COVID-19 pandemic waived the requirement and encouraged districts to start the 2020-21 year before Labor Day, to maximize student learning time.
Kathy Smith, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction and Talent Development, said the calendar is part of the bargaining process with the Farmington Education Association. In a typical year, factors considered include:
- the Oakland Schools Intermediate District Common Calendar
- state guidelines for instructional time and professional development
- holidays and community demographics
- student and teacher assessments
This year, the district also had to factor in COVID-19.
“A big priority for us was our collaborative work with our association, and all the implications of the back to school plan,” Smith said. “We were really focused on providing as much stability as possible for our families and staff.”
The same calendar will apply whether the district starts with students in buildings or working remotely, and for those on the Virtual Learning Path.
Smith said some professional development for teachers will happen online and will be geared toward ensuring familiarity with a new Learning Management System and help them succeed in the new school year. Staff will start on August 23, with time to close out the last school year and begin working on the new one, she added.
The year starts for students with a half-day on August 31; the afternoon will be a district work day for staff. Everyone is off September 4 and 7 for the Labor Day holiday. View the full calendar on the district’s website.