Document Type

Doctor of Education Capstone

Original Publication Date



Hopewell City Public Schools


Hopewell, Virginia

Date of Submission

May 2021


As the first school division in Virginia to implement a division-wide year-round school calendar, Hopewell City Public schools requested assistance in evaluating the impact of their work. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic the division paused implementation, shifting the focus of the study from evaluation to providing recommendations for structural, philosophical, and fiscal changes to the year round calendar initiative and its associated communication plan that would positively impact the long term sustainability of the initiative. The study employed a mixed methods approach including survey and focus group data along with an extensive literature review, and internal document and analysis. Findings suggested that creating structures to ensure sound instructional leadership during intersession instruction and the creation of career and life readiness pathways through vertical and horizontal intersession planning are critical in driving positive student outcomes. Additional findings identified a community where members that indicated they understood the initiative were more likely to support the initiative, and a cost analysis found stable and sustainable fiscal management. These findings were used first to inform a recommendation for a distributed leadership approach to monitoring student progress and effective intersession pedagogy. Further, recommendations informed the development of a communication plan designed to increase awareness and sustainable community support by celebrating and showcasing growth in students’ life and career readiness skills. By ensuring the recommended instructional and communication conditions Hopewell City Public Schools will be able to sustain internal and external support for the Balanced Calendar initiative over time.


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