Library from quad

Changes ahead: 2022-23 academic calendar

October 7, 2021

While it feels like we are just hitting our stride in the 2021-2022 school year, planning has already begun for NEXT year! 

Specifically, we have prepared our draft of the 2022-2023 academic calendar – which includes the main start/end and vacation dates for the year. 

While much is similar, there are some significant differences worth noting. Next year will mark our full shift to a semester-based academic calendar. This year, the Upper School made the switch, and next year is the Middle School’s turn. This will allow for an alignment of all breaks across both divisions and open up changes to the vacation weeks in the winter and spring.

As you preview next year’s calendar, let me try to answer a few questions.

Why do we start so early?

Cary Academy’s early start is driven by several factors, including: the start of the Upper School fall sports practice schedule in very early August; the desire to get as much core academic time in before AP exams in early May; and the desire to have a few more breaks during the school year. 

Why semesters?

When the school started, we chose trimesters to allow for fewer grading periods (three) vs a standard quarter system (four grading periods). Our new semester schedule has a mid-term grade check in and conference times, but has only two formal grading periods. This creates a longer cycle of learning with more opportunities for students to receive feedback and demonstrate their understanding before the end-of-term flurry when grades becomes finalized. As importantly, the Upper School has been adding in more choice-based core courses (English, history, world languages) that align better with a semester schedule than a trimester schedule. 

What changes were made to the breaks?

We will no longer have an extended two-week break for Thanksgiving, followed three weeks later by another two week break for the winter holidays. We will, however, keep one full week for Thanksgiving! 

Because we needed to add some planning time for faculty, our winter break will be slightly longer, which also could be a great time to schedule those longer, international family vacations. 

In the spring, we will split our traditional two week break into individual one-week breaks and spread them five or six weeks apart. While we know many will miss the extended spring break, the new schedule will provide two substantial “breath catchers” instead of just one, as well as align with the Wake County calendar for families who are trying to juggle multiple school schedules. 

Graduation on a Sunday?

Every now and again, the spring athletics schedule bumps into our traditional graduation time – which we try to put at the end of the three weeks of AP exams in May. When this happens, we move graduation to Sunday. The last time this occurred was May 2016.  

I hope this gives you a better sense of what is in store for next year. We are happy to hear comments and suggestions. Please send them to Kim Fogleman. We will finalize the schedule in late November, early December. 

Written by Mike Ehrhardt, Head of School

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