Balanced Calendar

ORLA outdoor classroom


Balanced Calendar


Report Submitted to Olympia School Board in February 2023

A Balanced Calendar Exploratory Committee submitted a report to the school board in February 2023 summarizing its work.




A Balanced Calendar Steering Committee made up of six members selected by the superintendent began meeting on August 18, 2022. The committee meetings were facilitated by Ideal Communications. Steering Committee meeting summaries are posted on this webpage under the “Steering Committee Meeting Summaries” heading.


Like a traditional calendar, a balanced calendar has the same number of school days (180). The difference is how the breaks are spread out. Instead of a calendar dominated by a very long summer break, students could have more periodic, longer breaks throughout the school year and a shorter summer break.


Balanced Calendar Exploratory Committee

The Balanced Calendar Steering Committee coordinated the work of a larger 40-50 person “Balanced Calendar Exploratory Committee” (BCEC), which was formed in fall 2022 and made up of staff, parents, community partners and other interested parties representative of the community served by the district. The BCEC explored the possibilities and challenges associated with a balanced calendar tailored to the needs of Olympia’s students.

BCEC participants were suggested by school principals from throughout the district, with the final selection determined by the Steering Committee. The selection was based on participants who collectively represent the breadth of demographic, geographic and existing perspectives on the topic. The group met between September and December, and a summary of its work was provided in February 2023 to the superintendent and OSD Board of Directors.


Previous Work to Explore a Balanced Calendar

A “Citizens Advisory Committee” (CAC) met in the 2021-22 school year to explore the pros and cons of creating a more balanced school calendar. CAC meeting summaries are posted on this webpage under the “Citizens Advisory Committee Meeting Summaries” heading.


More than 3,000 people, including students, staff, families and community members, responded to a balanced calendar survey coordinated by the CAC in spring 2022. Results of that survey were mixed.



“That initial work compels us to engage in a more thorough, representative process to explore this idea further,” said Olympia School District Superintendent Patrick Murphy. “That does not mean that the district is planning to move to a more balanced calendar; OSD will not change its calendar in isolation. A comprehensive regional approach would be necessary for success.” 



Meeting Agendas and Summaries


Balanced Calendar Exploratory Committee Meeting Summaries



Balanced Calendar Steering Committee Meeting Summaries

The Balanced Calendar Steering Committee began meeting in August 2022.



Citizens Advisory Committee Meeting Summaries

The Citizens Advisory Committee on Balanced Calendar met from December 2021 through April 2022.




Frequently Asked Questions


View a list of frequently asked questions about balanced calendar. This webpage will be updated frequently, so please check back for updates. We also encourage you to email us questions you would like answered. Email your questions to [email protected]








Examples of balanced calendars in other school districts

The following are some examples of balanced calendars implemented by other school districts across the country. These illustrate possible balanced calendar structures. At this time, OSD is only exploring the concept of a balanced calendar and has not considered any possible start, end or intersession school calendar dates.




Other resources