Journey to Excellence

Creative School Calendars

School leaders will create a school calendar that supports effective student learning, on-going professional development, and time for evaluation and planning.

Despite significant changes in society over the years, the rigidity of the school calendar at 180 days per school year has remained unchanged since the early part of the previous century. The uniformity of this school calendar across North America is also remarkable. In the United States only about one in five states vary from the 180 day school calendar. In fact, eleven states require five less days (175 days per school year) and one state requires more days.

Changing the well established pattern of the school year calendar is not easy. Virtually all calendars begin in late summer and finish in late spring, a calendar rooted in an agrarian society of an earlier era. One recent innovation in school calendars, the year-round school calendar, has been widely publicized and hotly debated because of resistance to institutional change and the impact of such a change in our complex society today.

Schools that embark on a Journey to Excellence must demand re-evaluation of the school calendar and its impact on student learning. The school calendar should support and enhance, not hinder, educational goals. Time utilization in schools must facilitate successful student learning, assist the teachers with acquisition of effective professional growth, and meet the larger societal needs of communities.


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