If the school calendar for 2014-15 passes as proposed at the School Committee meeting April 1, next year will look a lot like the current year and years before, with the school year starting in last August, continuing into mid to late June and having week-long breaks in February and April.
This is despite results of a survey on the school calendar taken by parents and educators last year. In the survey – find the results here – 498 to 216 respondents said they were not satisfied with the current start and end dates for the school year.
In looking at support for the different vacations, 273 people voted to combine February and April vacations into one week in March; 187 people voted to shorten the February vacation to a long weekend and keep the April week-long break; and 254 people voted to keep the two vacations the same. In other words, 460 respondents voted for vacation reduction of some kind as opposed to the 254 respondents who voted to keep the vacations unchanged.
In a closer vote, 372 respondents said children should attend school on religious holidays (such as Rosh Hoshanah and Good Friday), as opposed to 342 who said religious holidays should remain school holidays.
At the meeting April 1, School Committeewoman Carolyn Mark said she would like to revisit the survey results before voting on the 2014-15 calendar. Supt. Victor Mercurio re-released the survey results in his first Field Memo Friday, April 4.
Regardless of the results, Chairman David Green seemed inclined to support the proposed calendar.
“I do not expect to see [us] presenting any substantive change from what was discussed at the April 1 meeting,” said Green via email. “There was a real appetite for some level of change, [but] there was no clear majority as to what change might be supported. It is my view that the topic would need a more thorough analysis before offering any recommendations for a significant change.”
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This is a relatively small sampling of the school community. Don’t we have upwards of 2000 students in the system? I think they definitely need to hear from a lot more families before a significant change is made.