School Calendar Vacation Change

February and April vacations seem excessive to some parents and some teachers. Has anyone discussed merging to just one vacation in March?

  1. We’ve never had board-level discussion or received complaints on this. Our calendar is largely set by our need to align with the regional technical center, so there is no way we would entertain a change like this for our district alone.

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  2. I think we should keep both February and April vacations. It’s worked well. I do think kids need the periodic break. I realize that vacation time presents problems for some parents. On another less substantive issue, I really think school should start after Labor Day, the traditional end of summer, and not in August. Better to extend a bit longer into June instead (when it’s bug season!)

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  3. School vacations should serve the educational goals of the school system. Whether vacations provide a much needed break or are disruptive to the educational focus are reasonable questions, that are best answered by educational experts who work with students every day. That said, any change to the traditional school scheduled needs the support of the community. As Jamie Vollmer points out in his book, schools can not successfully change without the community’s engaged understanding. The board may have a role in engaging the community, but this needs to happen in conjunction with educators. The school year should not be designed to meet the convenience of the community but the educational outcomes of the schools.

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  4. No one has raised the February and April vacation schedule as an issue for our school board. The timing of our school vacations is worked out at the level of the supervisory union, which has to coordinate with the regional technical center. So we have only a very limited say to begin with, which nobody seems to mind much.

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  5. We have brought this ONE winter vacation before the Association and they have balked on it several times.

    I do some work in a public school in Ore. They have the one week in March and it works . The kids start school after Labor Day and cease before our kids do in June It works fine out there and the teachers love it !!

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  6. The February vacation is more troublesome since it bumps up against Town Meeting Day. Perhaps schools should consider a much briefer break in February or beginning of March. For example, create a four-day weekend including Town Meeting.

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  7. I believe combining the two vacations into one is a great idea!

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  8. I am the board chair of a resort town High School. We have not discussed changing any vacations weeks. As a resort town, this would be devastating to the resort as they hire many HS students, teachers and support staff who they rely on during the February vacation week. I feel that our present schedule works well and gives our students a good mixture of breaks after the 1st of the year.

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  9. We are considering shifting to one vacation, during the week of Town Meeting. The board has encountered some opposition based on breaking the cycles of illness and families ability to take vacation and participate at Town Meeting. The proposed calendar would mean school lets out earlier than usual. Trying to find a schedule that works for all the schools that feed into the area career center has been a challenge. This one week of vacation was an attempt to come together on a common calendar.

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  10. I, too, have wondered if the two vacations could be merged into one March break, but I have noticed that there is often a high number of sick students and teachers as the February break approaches. It appears that the vacation week helps to isolate sick people and “clean” the schools out of the flu. The absentee rate doesn’t seem to be as high after the break. If you work in schools, you will see that students are drained off energy and brain power and a break really helps to recharge this thinking and energy level of all school personnel!

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  11. Yes, our board has raised the question of merging the February and April vacations into one—perhaps in March or early April.

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  12. I agree that it seems we are just over one vacation and we jump into another. However I don’t know if it is climate or what but there always seems to be a virulent flu bug of some sort coming around right around the Feb. vacation and I as a parent am always relieved to get my child home away from the cesspool of germs and get rested up. With all the winter sports, activities, etc. they seem exhausted about then and need the break. I know this sounds superficial however students need to be in the shape to focus and take in information or it is all for naught. I have also thought that due to personal family budgets, etc. Many of our students have limited exposure to many things. It would be nice to explore the April break and convert some of the days into an intensive section of time where there are mini seminars (if you will) to Arts/Culture/Physical Activities. Our music and arts budgets are under constant attack as we are continually demanded level funding budgets. Parent step up through boosters, etc and team sports will continually survive. One of the criticism that seems to reoccur is what are we doing for our “Gifted” and our “Arts Enrichment”. There may be an opportunity in there. Just thinking out of the box

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  13. I would love to see this combined and I’m sure my board would as well. But I’m sure the teachers would disagree and fight us in negotiations.

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  14. I agree that February and April vacations are excessive however we have not discussed merging into one in March. We actually took measures to shorten the April vacation.

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  15. The time frame from early January to late February is absolutely the LONGEST haul of the entire school year. With the research available that children learn most efficiently if given frequent breaks, I would not like to see the February vacation postponed to March. Also, many people rely on that vacation for skiing and other trips. Before being on the School Board, I was a public school teacher for 27 years, so I speak with feeling. I don’t know about the April break, but for years it provided me with a welcome opportunity to visit family members within a day’s driving distance for an extended time. They have already truncated the summer, which, contrary to popular belief, is not really a vacation for teachers who go to summer school, plan for the next year, or have other jobs to supplement income. I think these vacations are an important time for families to be together and enjoy the health of being outdoors. For our emotional survival as a culture, we need to preserve the family unit. This is a much larger topic for a different discussion.

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  16. My opinion on merging those vacations is something I would definitely consider. However, I would then like to be sure we adjust the first or last day of school accordingly. Not to have more days, but start later and end sooner.

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  17. As a former teacher for over 30 years I would say the students and teachers both need a vacation in February and April. In our district where we lost the February vacation for makeup days, it is starting to wear on both sides, (teachers and students)

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  18. School should be 48 weeks per year, period!

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  19. This issue has not come up in our district but I have long wondered why we have two vacations. Other regions of the country generally have one in late March.

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