NYC’s 2023-24 school calendar is out, and many teachers aren’t happy

Two parents pose with their daughter for a portrait in front of a banner that reads, “Back to School.”
Leilah Garcia and her parents, Jose Garcia and Katherine Medrano, outside of Brooklyn’s P.S. 503 on first day of school on Sept. 8, 2022. Next school year’s first day of school will be Sept. 7. (Gabby Jones for Chalkbeat)

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The wait is over: New York City’s 2023-24 school calendar is live

The first day of classes will be Thursday, Sept. 7, according to the calendar posted on Friday. Teachers are expected to report two days before that, education department officials said. 

The state requires a minimum of 180 instructional days, but this year’s calendar has 182 days for students since several holidays fall on weekends. Under the teachers union contract, however, the end date remains unchanged. (Next year, the last day of school is Wednesday, June 26.) Because of this, many teachers are complaining about having to work more days than usual.

Families and educators across the five boroughs have been eagerly awaiting news on the calendar, expressing frustration with the delay. Last year’s calendar was released slightly earlier, on May 31. 

Before the pandemic, New York City’s school calendar was released in March or April. Other school districts that start after Labor Day approved their calendars in March, including Newark, Philadelphia, and Boston.

Here are some other calendar quirks to be aware of:

  • Unlike in some years that are filled with days off in September, the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah falls on a weekend, so the only day off that first month is for the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur on Monday, Sept. 25.
  • As in this school year, Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 7, is a day off for kids. (The year before that, students were supposed to be learning remotely that day.)
  • Veterans Day falls on Saturday, Nov. 11, so will not be observed as a school holiday.
  • There’s been a push to make Diwali a school holiday, but that holiday — observed by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and some Buddhists — falls on Sunday, Nov. 12, so it wouldn’t overlap with school regardless. (The state legislature has yet to approve that.) 
  • Winter recess is from Monday, Dec. 25, until Monday, Jan. 1.
  • Lunar New Year once again falls on a weekend, on Saturday, Feb. 10, so there’s no day off for that holiday. 
  • There will be days off sprinkled through spring for various holidays: Schools will be off for Good Friday on March 29 and for the Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr on Wednesday, April 10. Spring break, which coincides with Passover, is from Monday, April 22, to Friday, April 26. Schools are open for last two days of Passover, however, and some educators are worried that those who observe may have to take extra time off. (Education department officials said spring break doesn’t always cover the entire Passover holiday.) Some teachers also were upset about not having off for Holy Thursday and Easter Monday.
  •  Similar to this year, schools will be closed for students on Thursday, June 6, and Friday, June 7 for “Anniversary Day” and “Clerical Day.”
  • Eid al-Adha falls on Sunday, June 16, so it will not be a day off for schools. 

Under New York State law, federal holidays that fall on a Sunday are observed the following Monday, but if they fall on a Saturday, they are not observed on a weekday. When holidays that New York City schools observe but are not federal holidays fall on a weekend — such as Rosh Hashanah, Lunar New Year, and Eid al-Adha — students do not get a day off during the week.

The city is continuing its practice of going remote for snow days, though this year, the lack of snow meant no cancellations.

Teachers union president Michael Mulgrew expressed concern about the calendar in an email to his members, saying that the education department released it without having completed negotiations about how teachers should use extended time during the week. In recent years, they used an extra 155 minutes each week for professional development and family engagement. Without an agreement in place, Mulgrew said, that time will revert back to a prior agreement of using 37.5 minutes on tutoring or small group work after school on Monday through Thursday.

Amy Zimmer is the bureau chief for Chalkbeat New York. Contact Amy at azimmer@chalkbeat.org.

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