The Grade

Education in Stamford

More changes to the 2013-2014 calendar

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The school board’s policy committee talked about the calendar for the 2013-2014 again this week, though they still have not made a decision about what the final product should look like.

Here’s what the version they brought forth on Tuesday looks like, along with some of my annotations:

Some highlights:

  • Snow days are scheduled to come out of April break, despite the fact that some board members — as well as parents — have expressed a desire to look to February instead.
  • There will be school on Veteran’s Day, a move that brought some backlash from local vets earlier this school year, when Superintendent Winifred Hamilton held classes that day to makeup days in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
  • April and February breaks take their regular place in the calendar, despite previous discussions about possibly shortening February break. In general, those breaks line up with neighboring districts, with the exception of Greenwich, which settled on a February break from Feb. 10 to Feb. 14.
  • The first day of school will be held after Labor Day on Tuesday, Sept. 3, which is a departure from recent years. It seems like Stamford is on its own in that regard: The first day for both Wilton and Darien’s will be Monday, Aug. 26; New Canaan, Westport, and Greenwich students will all return to class on Tuesday, Aug. 27.
  • The last day of school, Friday, June 20, is similar to some districts (Westport’s last day is Thursday, June 19 and Greenwich’s lines up perfectly with Stamford’s) and very different from others (New Canaan and Wilton both end classes on Thursday, June 12, while Darien’s last day is scheduled for Tuesday, June 10).

Stamford is completing its calendar about a year after the other local school approved theirs, giving families and teachers only about seven months to firm up their travel plans before the first day of school.

But there’s still time for community members to chip in their own two cents about the proposal. The policy committee will meet one last time to discuss the calendar at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22 in the board’s conference room on the fifth floor of Government Center. Then, the full board is expected to vote on the calendar later that night during the monthly regular meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. As always, the regular meeting will feature a time for the public to be heard before any business is conducted.

Categories: General
Maggie Gordon

3 Responses

  1. Calendar concern says:

    I have a suggestion. Rather than keep the February break whole and take any extra snow days from April I would propose the following changes to calendar as shown here, followed by brief rationale for each change

    Keep start same as it is- I support the post-Labor Day start.The two days for Rosh Hashana are only a problem this year. It goes to 9/25-26 in 2014 and to 9/14-15 in 2016. In years it is early we need to just deal with it. We also pick up one or two school days in those years it hits/falls on a weekend.

    Keep Veterans’ Day as a holiday- It is important date for our country.

    Make the Christmas/New Year break a full two weeks- I am not sure why we have to rush kids back to school on January 2. This would allow getting out on a Friday and Returning on a Monday in every year except when Christmas/New Years are on a Sunday (where I would suggest last day before Christmas be Tuesday 12/22 and return date be Wednesday 1/4.

    Make the February break a 4 day weekend built around Presidents Day- We have just come out of an end-of-November to mid-February stretch where we have had a number (11) of days off. A week in February seems a bit overkill. A nice 4-day weekend (F-Sa-Su-M) should give everybody a good breather.

    Keep April as a full week no matter what. It allows families to plan a regular break. It also comes after the longest stretch (39 days) with no weekdays off. The full week is needed.

    The rest of the calendar would remain the same as proposed.

    If my math is right this is a 184 day schedule, as is the one above.

    There are 3 snow-days scheduled in as it is. If we need more we would have to go a day or two longer at end. This is a risk, but none of us controls the weather. If we have a particularly bad year, we adjust. If we have a particularly good year, maybe we get out a few days early. But even if we go later in June due to weather, there is still a full 2-plus month break between the end of one school year and the post-Labor day start of the next. This is a bit of a wild card.

    I understand that there is no such thing as a perfect school-year calendar and I am sure this is not perfect either. But it does, I believe, flow a little better. It also respects the wishes of the majority of parents who want April break to be a full week. Maybe something to look at and consider.

  2. Lynn Rule says:

    I am really concerned about the complete lack of regard for common sense as it pertains to this calendar. Is there serious consideration to start school on September 3, go for two days, then have two days off??!?!?! This makes NO sense! I also agree with the other comment – parents have consistently stated a desire for a long weekend in February and not take time from April vacation, yet the board continues to ignore both parents and teachers. Unreal!

  3. Joe Gonzalez says:

    Maggie, please continue covering both this and the addition of security guards to the elementary schools. The Board of Ed continues to make decisions while failing to get, or completely ignoring, input from the parents that voted them into office. I have now filled out two different surveys favoring February break as the place to take snow days from, as have a majority of other parents polled. This has now been ignored two years in a row. The decision to hire security guards, several of whom I have heard are out of shape and not really worthy of guarding our children, was made without input from parents or PTO groups. The decision is diverting funds from much needed supplies in an already tight school budget, and it amounts to nothing more than a “feel good” measure that only puts another person in harm’s way. The correct avenue would have been to solicit feedback from parents, PTOs, principals and other school districts BEFORE making any sort of decision regarding the security of our elementary schools. The Board of Ed needs to stop acting like parents to not exist and begin a partnership with them instead.