Thank you for providing feedback into the 2021-24 School Calendar Process. Please read the information below and complete the short survey to make your thoughts known.
The Board of Education for the Cowichan Valley School District is required to create a calendar that meets the legislated requirements of the School Act and the Board’s collective agreement with the Cowichan Valley Teachers’ Federation (CVTF). We are now in the last year of the previously approved three-year calendar.
At the February 2, 2021 Open Board meeting, the Board of Education passed a motion to make the proposed three-year district calendar available for public feedback. The Board is currently seeking public and employee feedback on the proposed calendars for the 2021/22, 2022/23, and 2023/24 school years via a survey linked below. All proposed calendars meet the prescribed minimum hours of instruction that a Board must offer to students. Please have a look at the proposed calendars below:
Download a .pdf copy of the 2021-22 Provisional School Calendar
Download a .pdf copy of the 2022-23 Provisional School Calendar
Download a .pdf copy of the 2023-24 Provisional School Calendar
Download a .pdf version of the Three-Year School Calendar Overview
Feedback will be collected until 11:59 p.m. on Monday, March 1, 2021 through our online survey. Comments will be submitted to the Board of Education for consideration. The Board will make their decision regarding the proposed calendars at the March 2, 2021 Open Board meeting, which members of the public are welcome to attend via zoom. Final calendars are due to the Ministry of Education by March 31, 2018.
The proposed district calendars include the following information:
- the number and dates of the days in session;
- the number and dates of each day of instruction;
- vacation periods and dates of statutory holidays;
- the date of each non-instructional day; and
Final calendars will be posted on our website and distributed to parents in April.
Need some more information? Check out our handy Frequently Asked Questions below (or download a copy here)
Frequently Asked Questions
Who sets the school calendar for each school year?
Local school boards establish the school calendar. In 2012, changes to the provincial school calendar regulations eliminated the standard school calendar which was previously published by the Ministry of Education. Boards of Education now establish local calendars for their school districts.
Why does the Cowichan Valley School District create a three-year school calendar, instead of one?
The School Act and the School Calendar Regulation allows school districts to develop school calendars for up to three years if they choose to do so. Developing school calendars takes a lot of work and consultation, so our district chose to move to a three-year cycle for operational efficiency and to facilitate better long-term planning for the district, families, and independent schools in the Cowichan Valley. This is the second time the district is consulting on a three-year calendar cycle.
What happens if the calendar has to change?
If a school calendar requires any kind of change, the Board of Education must follow the amendment process outlined in the School Calendar Regulation. Basically, any proposed change would be made publicly available before the change is made. However, not all change requires the district to go through a new consultation or approval process (i.e. changing the date of a non-instructional day).
Does the School Act require a set number of days for each school year?
No, the School Act only sets a minimum number of hours for instruction that must be offered to students. It is up to the school district to determine how those hours are achieved throughout the school year.
The minimum required hours are:
- Kindergarten: 858 hours
- Elementary: 883 hours
- Secondary: 952 hours
Who decides when holiday breaks are?
The dates for our school district’s winter and spring break are determined by our local collective agreement. These are determined during bargaining and are not subject to change.
Who decides when the school year starts and ends?
Again, these dates are determined through our local collective agreement.
How are non-instructional days determined?
The Ministry of Education sets the number of non-instructional days required each year. This is usually set at six.
The dates for three of the six non-instructional days (teacher professional development) are determined by our local teachers’ union, as outlined in the collective agreement. Historically, these have taken place in October, February and May each year. The final dates for the following school year are not confirmed until their Spring Annual General Meetings, so scheduled dates in the calendars are always subject to change until then.
The school district determines the dates for the remaining three days (district days) in consultation with education partners and parents. We do our best to ensure all non-instructional days are spread evenly in each semester.
Why are there non-instructional days to begin with?
Aside from non-instructional days being required through provincial regulations, these days provide our teachers and staff with important opportunities to continue their own professional learning and stay current in their practice.
They also provide important opportunities for staff to meet, discuss and plan, collaborate on learning practices, and work together as we all continue our journey towards being excellent educators, and having a world-class public education system.
Why do we still have district closure?
The school district initially implemented district closure as a cost savings measure when we were in a time of declining enrolment. Attaching a second week of closure onto spring break saved the district $400,000. While we are now continually increasing enrolment, we are not yet in a position to add that cost back into the budget.
A two-week spring break is consistent across most of the province. Even with this extra week of closure, we are still able to meet the required instructional hours for students.
Are parents consulted before the calendars are created?
When a new calendar is being created, consideration to past feedback is given, and we also incorporate feedback received throughout the year. Parents have an opportunity to provide feedback on proposed calendars through the survey process as well as through their school principal.
Once feedback for the current calendar process is gathered, it is reviewed and the district looks at the feasibility of implementing suggestions received.
What kinds of changes were made to the calendar, as a result of the previous survey results?
We heard that Fridays were the most preferred day for non-instructional days, with Monday close behind. As a result, a majority of non-instructional days occur on a Friday, with the exception of two. The reason for keeping a couple on Monday was to ensure we catch staff who do not work on Friday’s, and to ensure Friday instructional time is not always impacted by these days.
Why does the district ask for feedback, when much of the calendar is determined by the local collective agreement?
School districts are required to share proposed calendars with the public for feedback before they are submitted to the Ministry. The feedback is important to us, and although we cannot always make changes, the information is useful—particularly during local bargaining. We do our best to balance feedback with our requirements.