In November 2022, the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) opened a public survey for stakeholders to provide input on issues related to the Academic Calendar for 2023-24 and 2024-25. This brief summarizes responses to the 3,983 surveys received.
Key findings include:
- Nearly all respondent groups rated “heat/weather” as the most important factor and “time for vacation/travel” as the second most important factor for determining both the first and last day of school.
- Almost two-thirds of respondents (61%) said they preferred to maintain the same 11 religious holidays and cultural celebrations observed in 2021-22 in future Academic Calendars.
- Almost two-thirds (63%) of respondents reported that it was “very important” that winter and spring recesses be at least a week long, and there were many open-ended comments emphasizing the importance of longer breaks to allow staff and students to rest and recharge.
- Respondents were divided regarding the scheduling of early dismissal days for school staff professional development and report card conferences.
- When asked to comment on the most important issues to consider when setting the Academic Calendar, the most frequent considerations mentioned (in order of frequency) were child care, challenges related to half days, the need for longer breaks/recesses, comments about specific religious holidays and cultural celebrations, preferences for starting school after Labor Day, and the decision-making process and communications around the Academic Calendar.