Creating the school calendar is similar to solving a puzzle with lots of different pieces and a set of rules about where the pieces must fit. The pieces are school days, teacher workdays, annual leave days and holidays; the rules are policies set by the North Carolina State Legislature, North Carolina Board of Education and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education.

A committee of parents, teachers, principals, administrators and community members will recommend two proposed calendars for the 2012-2013 school year that meet the following requirements and laws:

215 Total Days: The entire school calendar is 215 days. These days are divided among school days, teacher workdays, annual leave days and holidays.

180 School Days: There must be at least 180 school days, starting no sooner than Aug. 25 and ending no later than June 10 each year.

14 Teacher Workdays: There must be 14 teacher workdays.

By law, one workday must occur before school starts and one workday must be scheduled at the end of each academic quarter (a total of five protected teacher workdays).

At least seven optional teacher workdays must be for accumulated leave.

11 Holidays: Veteran’s Day must be a holiday; the others are discretionary.

10 Annual Leave Days: CMS must schedule 10 annual leave (vacation) days for teachers.

Other Considerations: The calendar committee must also schedule an equal number of days for the first and second semesters so that high school courses have 135 instructional hours. Breaks are scheduled so that teachers and students have consecutive days off in the winter and spring. Finally, while meeting all these parameters, the committee recommends two calendars that have an academic focus so that students and teachers are in school for unbroken periods of instruction time.

After the Calendar Committee recommends two calendars, employees and community members will have an opportunity to indicate their preference in an online poll.

The poll results and recommendations are given to the superintendent, who presents the options to the Board of Education. The Board then votes to approve the calendar.