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Should Fairfax County Elementary Schools Should Return to Full-Day Mondays?

The Fairfax County School Board is considering a return to full-day Mondays for elementary school students. Tell us: Do you support the idea, or think the extra teacher planning time is needed?

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

For years, Mondays in Fairfax County have meant half-days for elementary school students and their teachers. The Fairfax County School Board is revisiting what the school week might look like for students, parents and teachers if that changes in the next few years.

Read: Could Full-Day Mondays Be Restored at Fairfax County Elementary Schools?

Currently, students in kindergarten through sixth grade  attend half-days on Mondays; the other half of the school day is reserved for teacher planning hours. According to Fairfax County School Board Member Jane Strauss, shortened Mondays were established in Fairfax County in the 1970s with the goal of providing teachers needed planning time without increasing hours and labor costs.

But some parents in the area — especially those that work — find the half-days on Mondays to be lost learning time, or an inconvenience.

Many Patch readers, like Rachel Hatcher McQuillen, support keeping shortened Mondays so teachers have time to work.

“I support the teachers. If they need the time to keep providing quality instruction to my child and receive valuable training then I can deal with the inconvenience of finding a few extra hours of care a week,” McQuillen said on Fairfax City Patch’s Facebook page.

Some readers, however, wonder about the time being used to plan. Reader Helen Kmak Bogad writes, “Something’s wrong if they need all those hours to plan, every week!”

Do you think FCPS should keep shortened Mondays so teachers have the opportunity to plan? Or, do you support returning to full-day Mondays? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Erica R. Hendry and Ethan Levine contributed reporting to this story.

Alexy Weatherly July 31, 2013 at 08:54 PM
I understand it is inconvenient to working parents for 1/2 day Mondays; however, when are teachers supposed to prep for their week? They cannot do it during "business hours" and they usually don't get home till the average working parent gets home. What a lot of parents don't understand is teachers have to take courses throughout the year after school or on weekends. So as 1/2 days maybe inconvenient for parents what about all the extra work teachers do "after hours" or are required to attend school functions. Some have to have a second job just to have their kids in day care or extra spending money for their families, not every teacher is single. It's a 2 hour difference one day a week let the teachers have that 1/2 day.
LeslieG. August 01, 2013 at 10:17 AM
Why do FCPS elementary school teachers need a half day for prepping, while middle school and high school teachers apparently don't need that time? That is something I've never understood.
Alexy Weatherly August 01, 2013 at 12:09 PM
The middle and high school teachers have a planning period built into each day so they don't teach every period.
Pat Hynes August 01, 2013 at 12:17 PM
Just to be clear, the School Board is not considering a return to full-day Mondays. This story keeps running in different Patch outlets, keeping alive the notion that full-day Mondays are on our agenda. They are not. The subject came up during a work session on teacher work load. A majority of the board would have to vote to take on the massive public engagement process that a discussion of full-day Mondays would require. I would not be in favor of that at this time when we are trying to get focused and when we know that teacher workload is a very sensitive topic. I appreciate that Patch editors think this is an interesting topic of conversation, but I wouldn't want readers to think the School Board is actively reviewing the Monday elementary schedule. Pat Hynes Hunter Mill District Representative Fairfax County School Board
Shirley Mautz August 01, 2013 at 01:06 PM
Thanks for the clarification Ms. Hynes. I don't have any children in elementary school any longer, but I do have a daughter who teaches school and I know that planning is important to give quality teaching to our children and many after school hours are spent on school related things. I am grateful to know that this is a rumor. Anyone who thinks it isn't needed, should substitute in a classroom just once to see what it takes to be a teacher.
Aimee August 01, 2013 at 04:53 PM
Thanks for the clarification! As a full-time working parent (as most of us are in Reston), my only contribution to this discussion is that child care is extremely difficult for Monday afternoons. That requires a lot of planning, too. ;-)
Heather Dawn August 01, 2013 at 10:30 PM
I moved to Vienna in 1986 in 5th grade. This Monday thing was a shocking surprise. My parents didn't know what to do with me so with less stringent laws than what is enforced today, I was just latch-key a few hours longer....time spend addicted to soap operas. I'm fairly certain this sort of this was wide spread. I have a suggestion for fx county: End early Mondays and build time into the day by sending those kids to ART or PE or MUSIC. Don't have the funds you say..well, find the funds! Maybe you could spend a little less money on the marble in the govt center.

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