School Calendar » School Year Calendar Development

School Year Calendar Development

Leaders have heard from several members of the community who would like the district to consider moving the school year calendar up by one and/or two weeks.
Historically, the school year calendar in the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District has started in late August or early September leading up to the Labor Day holiday. This is late compared to our neighboring school districts. In fact, PYLUSD was the last unified school district to begin instruction in Orange County for the 2022-2023 school year. Nine unified school districts started the school year two weeks prior to PYLUSD and two unified school districts started one week prior to PYLUSD.

Each year, PYLUSD teachers, classified staff, and administrators work together to develop school calendars for the years ahead. While instruction and learning are the primary considerations, this group also considers past history and tradition. This year we will also consider feedback from the community collected in this survey. It is important to note that our calendar for the 2023-2024 school year is already set and is available to view online at The earliest a change can take place would be the 2024-2025 school year.

Benefits of Starting Earlier

There are several benefits to moving the school year calendar start date to earlier, including:

  • The first semester will end prior to winter break, which will afford students and families relaxed time together, versus high school students studying for semester exams that occur shortly after their return to school in January.
  • More instructional time for high school students to prepare for specialized exams (AP, IB, Cambridge AICE).
  • Our start date would be more in line with other school districts across the county. 
  • Earlier posting of final grades would allow more time for transcripts to be submitted and considered for college and university entrance. Some colleges and universities give priority to students who provide their transcripts early in the winter. 
  • Greater summer opportunities for students of all ages to participate in camps/programs, community college courses and orientations, internships, and jobs, which are often filled by students who begin summer earlier. 
  • Athletics and fall activities (CIF sports, band, ASB, etc.) would start closer to the opening day of school, which would provide longer summers to students who typically return to school early to participate in these programs. This will also improve school connectedness and fundraising opportunities.

Challenges to Starting Earlier

The district recognizes that there are some challenges to an earlier start date, including:

  • This shift benefits high school students more than elementary and middle school students. (But remember, all elementary and middle school students will eventually benefit from this switch as they move on to be high school students!)
  • During the year(s) when we move the calendar start date earlier, the summer leading up to the new school year will be one week shorter. This will only be the case during the transition year(s) as summer recess will start earlier.

In Moving Forward

The district asked for input from stakeholders in a survey about this topic in February 2023. Former Superintendent Dr. Michael Matthews shared the results of the survey with the Board of Education on March 14. A video of that discussion, as well as the one that he led in December 2022, is included below.


In March, the Board of Education directed district staff to begin planning for the school year calendar to begin earlier, starting with the 2024-2025 school year. While the initial thought was to move the calendar up by one week in 2024-2025, and then another in 2025-2026, the Board has asked us to also look into the idea of moving the calendar up by two weeks in the 2024-2025 school year. With the latter option, they would also like to consider the possibility of a three-week winter recess or a two-week spring recess as a one-time feature to make up for the shortened summer that would lead into the school year. 

As such, the Board has asked district staff to compile more data through another survey about the topic for students, staff, parents and guardians, and community members. Click here to take this survey, which will be open May 11 through May 25, 2023.

For more information, read a letter from Superintendent Dr. Alex Cherniss on May 11 at
School Year Calendar Development Discussions
Former Superintendent Dr. Michael Matthews has led several discussions about the school year calendar at Board of Education Meetings. In December, he presented preliminary information about moving the school year start date to earlier as well as the benefits and challenges to doing so. In March, he shared the results of a survey about the school year calendar and led additional dialogue between Trustees. Watch the full discussions below.
Survey Results