It's earlier than in the past.
The first day of school is less than two weeks away in Frederick County. Classes are scheduled to begin on Monday, August 19th.
The school system estimates that 40,668 students will come through the front door on that day, which is a slight increase over the 2012-13 school year.
For the past decade, FCPS says enrollment has gone up by 4%. "We're very excited to be welcoming more students, that's for sure," says Dr. Theresa Alban, Superintendent of Frederick County Public Schools. "And we have done a very good job of positioning some of our portable classrooms to handle growth in areas where we're seeing a little more than in other areas."
But Dr. Alban says the school system still has to deal with the overcrowding that comes with the growth. "I would love to tell you that 'oh yes, we have all of that handled.' But as you know, in our facilities plan, we do have plans for a new elementary school in Urbana. So we still have very full classes in some of our schools in that area of the county."
She also says there are plans to build a new school on the west side of Frederick. "We still have a lot of growth there," says Dr. Alban.
Unlike past years, Frederick County Public Schools are opening two weeks before the Labor Day Weekend. In the past, classes began the Monday before Labor Day. Dr. Alban says a calendar committee made several recommendation to the Board of Education in January. The School Board ended up choosing one with an earlier start day.
But Dr. Alban says starting a little earlier can be advantageous. "It would enable us to have a more solid block of five-day weeks for instruction," she says. "It also is beneficial for our high school students. When first semester ends, they have a little more time to start second semester before we face the difficulty of snow days and things like that."
And it's especially helpful to high school students taking the Advanced Placement and High School Assessment tests. "What was happening is they were taking those in May, and there were five, six weeks left in the school year, and they had sort of taken their culminating exam," says Dr. Alban. "So this will give that second semester an earlier start, and it will be more like the end of the semester when they're taking those exams."
You can hear the entire interview with Superintendent Alban on Saturday morning on WFMD, right after the 7:00 AM news.