Survey To Gauge Worcester School Calendar Preference

BERLIN — While legislation seeking a mandated post-Labor Day start for public schools across Maryland is expected to be introduced again in the upcoming General Assembly session, at least one local school system is already seeking input on a return date for next year.

With the start of the Maryland General Assembly session now just two weeks away, it appears likely a renewed effort to make mandatory a post-Labor Day start date for public school systems across the state will be introduced. After similar legislation failed during last year’s session, the bill’s sponsors promised to come back this year with an improved effort. Dozens of bills have been pre-filed in both the House and Senate in advance of the session, but not legislation pertaining to the mandatory start date for schools has yet been introduced.

However, Worcester County Public Schools are already asking parents, teachers, students and other stakeholders to weigh in on the school start date issue. A survey is being circulated asking parents, teachers and other stakeholders to give their input on three proposed Worcester County public school schedules for the 2016-2017 year, two of which include a post-Labor Day return date of Sept. 6. A third alternative offers a return date of Aug. 29.

Worcester County was the only school system in the state to return for the first day of classes after Labor Day this year, while most across the state returned at least a full week earlier in late August. The survey essentially asks stakeholders to decide if they want to maintain the current trend of returning after Labor Day or if they prefer an earlier start date.

All three options meet the state-mandated 180 school year. Two include a post-Labor Day start date of Sept. 6 and a final day for students of June 16, although each goes about meeting the mandatory 180 requirement in subtly different ways with a holiday pinched here or a professional day dropped there. A third option laid out in the survey calls for a return date of Aug. 29 for students, but projects a final day for students on June 7, or a full week earlier than the post-Labor Day alternatives.

The Survey Monkey survey first asks participants to identify themselves as either a parent, student, employee, bus contractor or community member. The survey then asks participants to select their school location, and finally which of the three options currently on the table they prefer.

The survey can be found at

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.