Approximately 82,000 students – the most ever – are expected to fill seats in schools across the county when the 2017-2018 school year begins for most students on September 5.
Those students will be greeted by later school hours, with high schools beginning classes 13 minutes later than last year and all other schools starting 15 minutes later than a year ago.
With the exception of schools that will open one day late due to planned construction projects, the first day of classes for students in first through fifth, sixth, and ninth grades will be Tuesday, September 5. The staggered openings of secondary schools will give sixth- and ninth-graders a chance to get acclimated to their new surroundings before the remaining students return to class on Wednesday, September 6.
Kindergarten, prekindergarten, and ECI students will also start school on a staggered schedule. Parents should see the school calendar located on the AACPS website  for details.
Planned construction projects and moves will necessitate a one-day delay in the opening of six schools. Staggered start schedules at these schools will be moved by one day to accommodate late openings at Chesapeake High School; Severn River Middle School; and Arnold, Brock Bridge, Manor View, and Shady Side elementary schools.
Central Special School, Marley Glen Special School, and Ruth Parker Eason Special School will open for all students on Wednesday, September 6. Parent conferences at those three schools will take place on Tuesday, September 5.
No staggered start
Students at the Mary Moss at J. Albert Adams Academy will not utilize the staggered start. All students at the school will begin class on Tuesday, September 5.
A new, temporary home
Arnold Elementary School students will find themselves in a new home for the next two years as their replacement school is constructed. Arnold students will attend classes in dedicated space at Severn River Middle School.
A new educational opportunity
This fall brings with it the county’s newest school of choice for students, the Monarch Academy Annapolis Public Contract School. The school will be operated by The Children’s Guild, which also runs the Monarch Academy Public Charter School in Glen Burnie and the Monarch Global Public Contract School in Laurel.
Monarch Annapolis will draw approximately 580 students in kindergarten through fifth grade from the Annapolis cluster.
All schools have scheduled Back-To-School Nights to provide parents with a chance to learn more about the instruction their children are receiving and the teachers who are providing that instruction. Detailed information on dates and times for every school  can be found on the AACPS website .
Visitors to AACPS’ new website  will find a greatly enhanced experience that makes obtaining information online easier than ever before. The new website has many additions in both content and state-of-the-art features. It is also responsive to mobile technology, making AACPS information accessible even when parents are on the go. A video introducing the key features of the new website can be found in the slideshow on the top left of the main page.
New faces in new places
Compared to this time a year ago, the nine-member Board of Education will have two new faces when the school year opens.
Lusia Cole, a student at Chesapeake Science Point Public Charter School, is the 46th student member of the Board of Education and the first from a charter school to represent students across the county. She is serving a one-year term, and is the only student member of a local Board of Education in the country with full voting rights.
The School Board Appointment Commission of Anne Arundel County appointed Colin Reinhard of Linthicum to fill the vacant at-large seat on the Board at its August 24, 2017, meeting. Mr. Reinhard will assume his seat as soon as he is sworn in. His term expires on December 2, 2018.
There also are new principals at 19 schools across the county. Eight of those schools – Old Mill High School; the Mary Moss at J. Albert Adams Academy; and Jacobsville, Meade Heights, Oakwood, Overlook, Severn, and Severna Park elementary schools – will be led by first-year principals who were assistant principals in the county last year. Two others – North Glen and Riviera Beach elementary schools – will be led by principals new to the county.
Significant calendar changes
The school calendar approved by the Board of Education contains significant changes from previous years. Of note:
- The Executive Order signed by Governor Larry Hogan not only requires schools to begin after Labor Day, but to end no later than June 15. This year’s calendar tentatively sets June 15 as the last day of classes for students, though that could be altered due to inclement weather.
- The calendar builds in just three days for inclement weather closings, not five as had been the case in previous years. This is a result of adjustments necessary to accommodate the newly-mandated start and end of the school year.
- The Easter/Spring break has been shortened to three days from the traditional six, another move necessitated by the mandated start and end dates of the school year.
- Monday, April 2, 2018 (the day after Easter), may be used as a potential makeup day if more than the three days built into the calendar for inclement weather closings have been utilized.
- The last day for graduating seniors is Thursday, May 24, 2018.
It is the responsibility of parents and guardians to ensure that their child’s immunizations and records are both up to date and on file with the school. Students who do not have documentation of required immunizations will not be allowed to attend school when the school year starts. Parents who have questions should check with their child’s school.
A list of required immunizations  can be found online.
ParentConnectxp to go live, attendance calls to begin September 18
ParentConnectxp, the online portal that allows parents to see their child’s assignments, grades, and attendance records, will be available across the school system on Monday, September 18, 2017.
Parents who do not yet have access to ParentConnectxp  can sign up online.
Automated attendance calls for students who are absent and whose parents have not previously notified the school of that absence will also begin on September 18.
Security reminder for visitors to schools
County schools are equipped with A/I phones which allow office personnel to communicate with visitors to determine the nature of their visit before allowing admittance to the school office. Parents, community members, school system employees, and others planning to visit schools are reminded that AACPS security procedures require all visitors to show a government-issued identification card (such as a driver’s license) to be admitted into a school. The ID card is scanned through a system that cross-references visitors against sexual offender databases.
Visitors must not hold the front door of a school open to allow other visitors not in their party into a school.
Fueled up and ready to go
This year, nearly 652,000 hours will be spent driving approximately 775 buses nearly 10 million miles to transport students to and from schools. On a daily basis, nearly 59,000 students are eligible to use county school transportation services.
Bus services are offered to students living outside designated walking areas at each school. Prekindergarten and kindergarten students who live greater than one-half mile from school, elementary school students who live greater than one mile from school, and middle and high school students who live greater than one-and-one-half miles from school are eligible to receive transportation services.
Routine bus evacuation drills will be conducted throughout the school year.
Complete school bus schedules and procedures can be found at the top of the AACPS website  through September 11.
Fuel for achievement
The cost of school meals for students will not increase this year. School breakfasts will cost $1.50, with lunches at elementary and secondary schools costing $2.75 and $3.00, respectively. At all schools, reduced-price breakfast is free and reduced-price lunch is 40 cents. The cost of milk will remain at 55 cents per bottle.
In addition to unlimited choices of fresh fruits and vegetables daily, AACPS offers a variety of nutritious meal options to ensure students are properly fueled for the school day. Forty-six schools will offer free breakfast to all students as part of the Maryland Meals for Achievement program. Ten schools will allow students to purchase breakfast and eat with teachers and peers in the classroom as part of the Breakfast with Class program. In addition, 49 sites will serve free early evening meals to students through a federally-funded initiative aimed at supporting good nutrition and combating youth hunger. The school system also served approximately 100,000 meals to young people over the summer.
Students who wish to apply for free or reduced-price meals must complete a new SY2017-2018 Meal Benefit Application . Applications are accepted throughout the school year.
For the ninth straight year, AACPS is utilizing an enhanced computer system, MyPaymentsPlus, to make meal purchases faster and easier. Students whose parents deposit money into an account can use their six-digit student identification number to make purchases. Parents can register to receive emails when balances are low, and can monitor their child’s purchases. Questions about the prepayment programs should be directed to the school a child attends.
AACPS menus will feature additional healthy options for all students. Choices include additional fresh fruits and vegetables, more whole grain options, and more lean protein and low-fat dairy options.
Last year, AACPS served more than 5.7 million lunches and 3.7 million breakfasts in schools. The system receives no county funds to operate lunch and breakfast programs. Revenue for the program comes from federal reimbursements (58 percent), food sales (38 percent), and state funding (4 percent).
Complete details about breakfast and lunch programs can be found on AACPS’ Food and Nutrition Services  program website.
Notices of emergency closings and delays
Changes to school schedules caused by inclement weather or other emergency conditions are announced through Connect-ED via telephone, email, and text message; posted on the school system’s website (www.aacps.org), Facebook page (www.facebook.com/aacps), and Twitter page (@AACountySchools); posted on all individual school Twitter pages; and announced on major area radio and television stations, including AACPS-TV (Channel 96 on Comcast and Broadstripe, and Channel 36 on Verizon; HD broadcasts on Channel 996 on Comcast, Channel 496 on Broadstripe, and Channel 1961 on Verizon).
In addition, announcements are posted (and parents may sign up for email alerts) on the School’s Out website (www.schoolsout.com ).
Board meetings on TV and website; Board votes online
Meetings of the Board of Education, which typically occur on the first and third Wednesdays of most months, are broadcast live on AACPS-TV and on Livestream on the Internet.
Voting records of Board members are categorized by meeting date can also be found online.