After Sandy, Paying The School Calendar Piper

Hurricane Sandy’s wallop struck far and wide. Ita after-effects are still being felt.

Including on the Westport School district calendar.

With the storm wiping out the 3 days built in for emergencies — plus 2 others — adjustments must be made.

Among the considerations:

  • Not going to school too late in June
  • Keeping instructional time prior to CMT tests for 3rd through 8th graders in march, and AP exams for high school students in May
  • The need to plan in advance for any changes, so adjustments can be made by parents and staff.

At its Monday meeting, the Board of Education will be presented with 2 recommendations from Superintendent of Schools Elliott Landon. The board could then vote at its December 3 meeting.

One option would eliminate spring recess (April 16-19) entirely. School would still end Thursday, June 20.

The 2nd choice would shift staff development days (“no school” for students only) from January 18 (the Friday before Martin Luther King Day — turning a 4-day weekend into 3) and February 25 (the Monday after winter break) to April 16 and 17  (the Tuesday and Wednesday of spring break). School would end Friday, June 21.

In other words, Option 1 would make one change only: no spring break.

Option 2 would mean, among other things, that students would have a 3-day spring break: Monday through Wednesday, April 15-17.

School calendars always generate controversy. There is never a perfect solution — and changes in mid-year are never easy.

Click “Comments” to weigh in. Rational arguments only, please, on the merits and/or drawbacks of options 1 and 2 — no ad hominem attacks!

(NOTE:  Click here for a copy of the current 2012-13 school calendar.)

188 responses to “After Sandy, Paying The School Calendar Piper

  1. The best choice is to create some instructional days in winter while cutting back, but not eliminating, spring break entirely. The seniors need a few days in spring to visit colleges they are accepted to (typically they know by March 15) and decide where to go. FYI, both Fairfield and Norwalk eliminated February break entirely last year, and they are having a one week break in late March instead. The virtue of this approach is that it allows high school students in AP courses more instructional time in the winter. Westport ought to consider eliminating the two breaks (February and April) and creating one break in early spring. Students who have a long December break really do not need another long break in February. The teachers will tell you that it is really disruptive as well.

  2. And for all the families that have booked and paid for February and April breaks?

    • Hotels are usually refundable this far in advance. I’ve had to cancel flights: there’s a nominal fee per person but you can use the credit for up to a year.
      No biggie, if you can all ready afford two trips within a short span of time.

  3. Couldn’t agree more with Elise. The February break is the break which needs to be addressed not the April break. I am extrememly disappointed that eliminating the February break is not on the table. Maybe with a groundswell from 06880 readers this might change.

  4. Ummm.. Except that there are many families who already have their Februrary vacation booked and paid for.

    Sorry. Try again.

    • isnt this exactly what trip insurance is for??

    • No you try again. How about you come up with a good solution. It’s not the most easy thing in the world.

      • No thanks.

        • getting rid of feb vacation saves our family $1000 as we have 2 kids that need to go to camp during the week there is no school… lets take a collection for you and get the kids the education we paid for with our tax dollars.

  5. Another Citizen

    Since our students go 182 days while only 180 are required I think we should just forgive those 2 days and plan better in the future as we now see what the “new weather around here” looks like. Move staff Development and let school end as early as possible since the days at the end, well how much actually gets done. Seniors are already out on their internships. Elementary schools could give up field day and Middle has extra days after finals full of nothing. As for visiting colleges, do it on the weekends or take your 2 excused days. Be a little creative and don’t forget there may be snow days to deal with too. The bottom line is that people who have vacations booked will go anyway.

  6. Another possibility

    Another option. Add the following four days. Will probably require the unions to agree.

    1) January 2nd. It’s a Monday. Everyone has already recuperated from New Year’s Eve. Also right after a long holiday break.

    2-3) Friday before MLK weekend. Maybe even Monday MLK day as well. Kids can learn more about MLK at school than sitting at home that Monday.

    4) Monday after February break.

  7. Option 2. Though it is imperfect, it accommodates the needs of most people. But, I have a question: Not discounting the pressure on teachers to meet curriculum goals, when a town is declared part of a Federal Disaster Area by the President, are the missed school days required to be made up? Does the CT Board of Eduction have a policy about this?

    • Agree. CT Board of Education should shorten the calendar in this instance and take the extra days off from June. In the future, shorten the vacations or start earlier in August. We are going to get “freak” storms again. We’ve gotten one every year in the last 3 years.

  8. For the future, one spring break in march and eliminate the February break!

  9. Is there a typo? Option 2 would maintain the full April break for students, but cut it back for teachers, correct?
    Option 1 gives more flexibility in the event of additional lost days.
    Note that switching permanently from two breaks to one has been discussed at least once in my memory (96-08), and failed.

    • No typo. Option 2 would would have everyone off on April 15. Students would also be off April 16 and 17. Staff development days would be April 16 and 17. Everyone would be in school Thursday and Friday, April 18 and 19.

  10. Michael McGovern

    Dan you posted the 11-12 calendar. This is the 12-13 school year.

    • Yikes. My bad. THANKS, Mike. I’ve removed it — I can’t find a savable, insertable version of the 2012-13 calendar anywhere, so I added a link at the end of the post.

  11. Norwalk teacher

    A correction about Norwalk. There is no March vacation. February break consists of the Friday before Presidents Day weekend and the Tuesday after. School is in session the rest of the week. April vacation remains in tact.

  12. Elisabeth Keane

    Please, would someone explain something to me? Please do not misinterpret what I am asking: Why do vacation plans take precedence over going to school? It is lovely that so many folks have the opportunity to travel during school breaks. While adults have jobs and responsibilities, the “job” (responsibility) of the children is to go to school and learn, setting them on the path to become useful and productive citizens.

    That said, is there at this time a policy about required make up school time when schools have been closed due to severe weather or unforeseen circumstances? This is New England; we get all sorts of severe weather. To create a school calendar without accounting for the likelihood of school closures seems to me to be a bit impractical. Schools have been closed before and will be closed again. Would an option be to use the February break as the default make-up week (or days) since this break is so soon after the December break? That way, if it snows or Frankenstorms (a new verb?) in November, for example, parents would know that those days would be made up in February, thereby allowing time to change vacation plans. Let’s face it, in one way or another we all have experienced having to adjust or cancel plans (wedding? vacation? business trip? birthday party?) because of illness, burst pipes, car trouble, emergency surgery or whatever else Life throws at us.

    • Elisabeth hopefully you decide to run for the open seat being vacated on the board of education your thoughts & ideas are right on!!!

    • westport parent

      I think it snows in february too. Then what?

    • Westport Delight


      What if the trip is already booked and PAID for? Do you plan on reimbursing me for the substantial cancellation and service fees?

      People should be aware of what’s going on in Fairfield, right now. They proactively cancelled Feb vacation (in the event of a year like this) and will now begin taking days away from April vacation. But they are also not penalizing anyone for going on vacation….

      I ask, what’s the point of that??? So stupid.

      • You took the risk, why should you be reembursed? Next time buy trip insurance?

      • Agree Westport Delight – and there seems to be a sentiment on this forum that if you booked a family vacation based on the school calendar, and paid for it, that somehow you are either (i) very wealthy and go on vacations all of the time, or (ii) you don’t care about your kids’ education. Neither are necessarily true for people posting about objections to a complete wipeout of April vacation. What if the plans that you made for April are the family trip of a lifetime??? In our case, trip insurance wouldn’t even cut it because not only did we rely on the school calendar, many members of my family who are not from Westport did too — to accommodate us and Westport’s unusual school calendar. Just because it is on the April break doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone goes away every single school break for every year of their children’s time in the Westport school system.

        Of course I value my kids’ education, but the fact is that the BOE put out this calendar with all of these vacation days! And it shouldn’t come as a surprise that some people actually planned their time off of work, and potentially even major family trips (which can be an important part of education too!) based on this calendar. So to say that people who looked at the calendar in the summer of 2012, and decided to plop down cash (sometimes to save money vs. making last minute plans) to travel with their family on a special trip are somehow not prioritizing education is not very fair. The very reason that this forum is filled with comments is that no one wants their kids to miss school. I don’t understand why people on this forum are vilifying family time. Spending time together as a family is important too, and while we all did that last week during the storm – it certainly isn’t the same as family travel.

        Also, not every single day mandated by The State of CT as a school day is indeed a day of curriculum based education, and we need to recognize that and remove those days (this year only) first, before we start taking away family time that has already been scheduled. The State of CT could give Westport relief for the National Disaster that was declared in our area, and teachers could pitch in by eliminating some of the gap days (at least at the elementary and middle schools) during the remainder of this year so that the full curriculum objectives are still met.

        I agree with others who have said that the two full week vacations in Feb and April are not optimal, and I would be in favor of evaluating that schedule in future years and replacing them with a single March break like many other parts of the country.

        • What about those who have not made vacation plans? Should they be incovenienced so you can have your vacation? Why?

          • Westport Delight

            WOULDN’T YOU BE AT HOME ENJOYING VACATION ANYWAY? I don’t understand what the difference is….

            How would you be inconvenienced? You didn’t have plans to leave Westport anyway. I’m not sure how other families fighting for vacation impacts you at all.

            • I may have made plans based upon the calendar as well, just not vacation plans. Moreover, some new calendar options do require changing plans at othe dates.

    • The calendar has three snow days built into it, so the likelihood of school closures is accounted for. The likelihood of natural disasters is not accounted for, nor should it. Maybe future school calendars need to build in more snow days.

      • Ah no – the calendar DID have three snow days built in, they’re gone now. Which makes all of this intracate planning now, without considering the need for snow days, a bit foolhardy – chances are we will see a few snow days this year, and that will have to come from somwhere. I sympathize with those who have already booked April vacations, but as between February break and April break, cutting into April break is likely to cause less havoc with already-booked vacations. I’d politely suggest eliminating it entirely, along with the adjustment to the staff dev. days, which brings back some snow days into the schedule.

        NEXT year they can look at the age-old topic of permanently eliminating one of these two weeks of breaks from the school calendar (and perhaps return to starting the school year in September).

        • The idea of cutting breaks down from two weeks to one would be to add cushion for future weather related school disruptions. If you take that extra week and start school after Labor Day what have you achieved? By the way the state of Connecticut won’t allow public schools to schedule breaks in March because of CMT/CAPT tests.

          • Westport Delight

            When did that become the policy? For several years, in the late 90s and early 2000s, they alternated every year between a Feb break and April and one, longer March break.

            What has changed since then?

            • CMT/CAPT used to be in October and then in the early 2000s was changed to March. That is when the policy changed. No public school in the state of Connecticut has a break in March now.

        • Amen to starting school after labor day. Let the kids at least enjoy the summer….

  13. I would eventually love to see both Feb and April breaks eliminated in favor of a week off in March and ending school a week earlier. But for this year, I strongly hope they will just shorten both Feb and April breaks by a few days – this way, if families have booked trips, their kids may miss a few days of school instead of an entire week.

  14. Trying to use February break to make up snow days makes no sense since it snows in February. We could end up giving up February break and still needing to use April break to make up instructional days. Taking away April break is a more logical choice.

  15. The issue with completely canceling what was a calendared vacation is that people have already booked and paid for plans to leave town (Feb and/or April breaks). Personally, I think both breaks are silly and agree with other writers who are proposing a typical long Feb weekend, a March break, and nothing in April. But for this year, the calendar has already been published and families that stick around for Feb or April know that it can get pretty lonely and boring. So many of us have already paid to get out of town based on that calendar. Because of Sandy, CT was declared a Disaster Area and in a State of Emergency. Our entire town/county shut down for 7 days as a result of this natural disaster. The number of days in a school year is set by the State of CT too. What should really be happening here is that Hartford should be giving relief for the minimum school year requirement for this year due to this declared disaster. That way, no days should be canceled. Let’s get real too – most private schools have a much shorter year than public. Westport should get relief from the state requirement this year, and the teachers should challenge themselves to remove some class trips and other non teaching days to get the full academic requirements in for the year with less days. Personally, I don’t want to lose money and vacation time so that my kids can go on school trips to farms or museums this year.

  16. I actually think that the kids in the high school, specifically, need some breaks throughout the year to catch their breaths and catch up on their work (feb break and april break)… Everything is so harried, rushed, etc… I do think the schools could fit in the instructional time into the fewer days, 180, instead of 182 for students if they took out some of the non-essentials — field trips, possibly field day, etc., watching movies… The teachers should still be required to use those 2 days tacked on to end of year as teacher development days. Also, the point about needing to look at colleges, plus the pre-planned and paid for vacations are a real consideration for students as well as for teachers. I think taking days from either February break or April break are a last resort plan. We should give up the 2 instructional days (182 to 180), use the extra day before MLK day, and potentially MLK day itself, and the extra day built into February break as well as Friday June 21st. With the snow days, hopefully that is sufficient to get us through the season.

  17. Resident with kids

    I don’t know how a school board can consider everyone’s vacation plans when trying to accommodate the educational requriements of the town’s children. Even scheduled school days don’t stop some folks from pulling kids out for vacation, anyway. People have to be flexible and understand that education comes first – we’ve already paid for that, too, with our taxes!. Entitlements and rewards come after. Just sayin’

    • There are two problems with that. First the school doesn’t publish a calendar subject to change and many people are now financially dependent on that calendar. Second not all days at school are instructional. Many days consist of movies field trips and field days etc. the number if days is totally a matter if a state minimum requirement. The same education can easily be accomplished in this odd year without removing entire vacation weeks.

  18. Native New Englander

    Maybe this will fire up a natural groundswell and culminate in the most sensible, permanent, go-forward decision of all and that is to have one Spring Break in March like most private schools, colleges and universities – and sounds like some more progressive thinking towns in the area too? This tradition of two week-long breaks eight weeks apart in winter and spring is seriously flawed for many reasons in today’s faster paced environment with so many more demands on family timing and schedules. In an ideal world, have MLK a four day long-weekend and the same thing for President’s Day and then a proper week off in March and “Bob’s your uncle” as they say across the pond! And if acts of God dictate reducing days away from school then shave away at the four day weekends first. I’ve never understood the pattern of kids basically in school for four months straight – with the odd day off for Jewish holidays, Columbus Day, Election Day and Thanksgiving, then a Christmas/New Year break and then six – seven weeks back and a week off in February, then another seven – eight weeks back and off for another week in April and then a final round of about eight weeks until school ends in June. It is very unbalanced and the Board of Education and the Superintendent should use this unexpected turn of events to take progressive actions to remedy a flawed calendar.

  19. After three years of “exceptional” storms, it it time for the BOE to realize that the area is going to lose instructional ideas throughout the school year and not just to snow. For the future, Westport (and surrounding schools) ought to move to a long President’s Day weekend and a coordinated one week break in late March. While I empathize with folks who prepaid for vacations this year, and this issue must be taken into account for this year’s solution, our family has NEVER taken a February or April vacation for financial reasons, parental work scheduling reasons, and two kids who are competitive swimmers and runners. There are, in reality, two different types of Westport families: the wealthy families who often go away for December, February AND April (three vacation trips before the summer!) and those of us who moved here for the great schools, coaches, music/art teachers, beautiful beaches/parks and do not need, and cannot afford, a long “vacation” from Westport during the school year. To reiterate, in the future, Westport should have a December break, a long President’s Day weekend, and one week in late March. We are all blessed to be living in Westport!

    • Does absolutely everything have to become class warfare? I am so done with it.

    • One Westporter

      These comments about wealth are ridiculous. You made a choice to move to Westport for the quality of life. Many people in this country are not wealthy enough to choose to move to Westport. You could move to Harlington-Brownsville, Texas (median income $31,735, 36.3% living below the poverty line). There you could “feel” like the richest person in the world.

      Why should you resent those who have more than you? You can afford a quality of life (and have CHOSEN it) that is “better” than most of the world.

      There IS, in reality, ONE “type” of Westport family — those who can afford to live here. Instead of being resentful of those who can afford more than you, why not take a moment to appreciate that you have more than most?
      I know plenty of people who would like to have the financial resources to choose to live here. I can send them to you to complain about the inequity of it all.

      Years ago, when we were relocating to CT, we were looking at homes in Greenwich. The only homes that we could afford were tiny and run down. Another $100k of capital and we would be able to afford the type of home we wanted. I mentioned this to the realtor and thought that she probably didn’t hear this from her clients who were shopping for the million dollar homes. She said that at every price point the client needs a little more money for a little more home.
      Wanting more is a universal desire.

      Try to find what we have in common instead of seeing it only in terms of what you perceive makes us different.

      • With all due respect, there is not “one Westport” or “one type of Westport family” but a variety of different types of families in different circumstances. For example, there are those who bought homes 20 years or so ago before the run up in real estate prices and those who purchased at the peak and leveraged up to do so. There are those with stable economic situations and those who have recently been laid off, divorced, or faced a life-threatening illness or disability. What we should all agree on is that Westport aspires, as a town, to much more than the minimum educational standards of the state, and that Westport and other coastline communities need to anticipate more “weather days” in future school calendars and have a publicized contingency plan as to what happens if there are more weather days than planned for. Everyone who has strong opinions on the preferred outcome for this year (and future years) should email the BOE and Dr. Landon and/or attend the next BOE meeting and voice their concerns and preferred solutions. These are constructive courses of action.

        • One Westporter

          There is not one type of Westport family and there are not two types as you asserted. If one breaks it down enough each and every family is unique. I am merely trying to point out that it is better to look for the common interests rather than focus on the things that make us different. We all live in Westport. I don’t think more or less of those who have more or less money than do I.

          Certainly, there are all sorts of people with all different circumstances. I just don’t understand your condemnation of people who make different choices than you make (whether out of financial necessity or just because they want something different).

          Why are “wealthy” people defined by you as those who can afford something that you cannot afford or make different choices? For many people in this country you are the “wealthy” person. Do you think you should be condemned for that? That your family has limited itself to all the wonderful Westport amenities is wonderful, but you shouldn’t have disdain for those who choose and can afford to experience things beyond the Westport town line.

  20. I am sure whatever is decided we can all adjust too, those that already booked vacation plans – enjoy .. But you will be required to make up any work that has been put in place if the calendar changes.

    People …. Do you hear yourselves whining! I sure do …. Others don’t have homes, heat etc., and your still complaining ….. Some people are just never satisfied!

  21. when my oldest child was in first grade at Long Lots, her teacher said at back to school night, ” for the families that choose to leave a day early for vacation, or arrive home a day late” please do not assume it is my responsibility to see that your child gets the work he/she missed because you chose to have your child miss a day of school. That has stayed with me for 16 years. Teachers are truly the foundation of our Westport school system, whatever we choose to do with respect to missing school because of previously made vacation plans, let’s try hard not to put an added burden on the teachers to make them responsible for helping kids “make up” missed work. And for the record, that teacher was an amazing teacher, the kids and the parents loved her

  22. Don't forget the teachers

    Don’t forget about the teachers who may have made plans for vacation. They can’t just say – oh I’ll take the week off anyway. School system makes that pretty difficult. And on their salaries, the can hardly afford to lose monies put down for well deserved time off. Is it possible to make the day a little longer to make up the time? It just doesn’t seem fair to teachers to eliminate the vacations. I would certainly need a break after being trapped with all those kids day after day. Instead of worrying so much about our little suzies and marks, I hope consideration is taken to be sure our teachers are thought of in the process.
    Don’t worry, I’m not a teacher!

    • With that type of attitude good thing you aren’t a teacher!! “Being trapped with all those kids” makes it sound like they are doing hard time teaching the wonderful children of Westport.

    • Westport Delight

      Unless you’re a “new learning” charter school, which includes the extracurricular activities as part of the actual school day, expanding the school day is 100% impossible. You could never do that. There would be a protest at Town Hall… I promise you that.

  23. David J. Loffredo

    Kill the April Break this year, sucks, but so did an unplanned week without school in the Fall. It’s going to snow this Winter, no way we get off easy two years in a row.

    Going forward I’m 100% in support of a March break coinciding with all the Private schools – that way all us “mixed families” can do something together rather than have four weeks between Feb/Apr when all our kids aren’t out at the same time.

    And if you have plans and they cancel the break, take your trip, the teachers will understand. Enjoy your family time, life’s short and the kids don’t get younger. They can always make up a week of school, family vacation memories last a lifetime.

  24. Since the storm and hurricane from last year forced a similar situation, 2 days should be “forgiven” again and students will attend 180 school days with the rest of CT students instead of 182.
    Also, professional development days at the very end of a school year for teachers seems to be illogical. It would make much more sense to have those at the beginning of school when staff could effectively process and utilize the training instead of just “showing up” to put in their time and not be able to use the information until 8 weeks later.

  25. Westport Delight

    All of you fools sound like crazy people. HOW IS IT A FOREIGN CONCEPT TO BOOK AND PAY FOR TRAVEL PLANS FAR IN ADVANCE???

    Schools cannot completely alter their schedule in the midst of a schoolyear and then expect people to be able to change the plans without penalty. I could care less about all of these options and ideas — we have to look at past examples.

    In 2010-2011, Norwalk Public Schools had to cancel Feb. vacation due to an awful snowstorm in December (you might remember it). But they did NOT punish those who were unable to change their travel plans. I do not know how they addressed the in-school lessons or homework assignments for that particular week, but they made it work.

    WESTPORT NEEDS TO FOLLOW THEIR EXAMPLE. All of you foolish people trying to turn this into a taxpayer issue or “class warfare” situation is absolutely ridiculous. It is common sense, people. When the Board of Ed releases the calendar, it is set. Many people (NOT ONLY IN WESTPORT) then center their entire vacations — from work, to family, to school — around this schedule. You cannot turn around…months later…and expect many of those same people to be capable of altering it, just to appease a town that cannot manage the calendar.

    It is the Town’s fault for not having a contingency plan in place. Not the taxpayer’s or the parent’s. How childish and silly.

    • What is childish and silly is whining about a vacation. The BOE should not take into account vacation plans; they should make an optimal decision based upon more relevant criteria. This debate has highlighted the sense of entitlement that characterizes Westport.

      • Westport Delight

        Except that you forget people in EVERY town — even Bridgeport (shocking, I know) — take trips during a scheduled vacation. And it costs a lot of money to cancel. Sometimes, it’s even impossible to reschedule those plans.

        I would understand your disdain for this argument if were dealing with a private organization or some other schedule that was “subject to change.” Unfortunately, the BOE doesn’t have that luxury.

        When they release the calendar, it’s there for all to see and abide by. Once it has been released and published, we begin making our plans. From bookings & reservations to coordinating work vacations to contacting other family members.

        Sorry to say it but in this case, the BOE is at fault for not properly preparing. A contingency plan should always be created in the event of a major closure as a result of war, terrorist attack, natural disaster, etc. To not have one in 2012 is both short-sighted and, quite frankly, embarrassing.

        • The contingency plan is to use the February and April breaks to make up days lost to a major closure.

        • You must be kidding. So if there were a terrorist attack or war, and the BOE did not anticipate the possibility of such and attack or war, whatever the BOE does in response to the attack or war should not interfere with your vacation plans. Got it. Only in Westport would that be considered a rational argument.

          On the other hand, you might make your vacation plans anticpating that they might need to be changed in the event of war or terrororist attack. Maybe there is enough shortsightednes to go around, as well as absurdity.

          • Westport Delight

            Sorry, but YOU ARE MISSING MY POINT.

            My point was not that a vacation takes priority over a natural disaster or terrorist attack. My point is that the Board of Ed should have a clearer, more logical contingency plan .

            Saying “well you should plan on something awful happening” is well and good but since I am not the one who dictates the calendar, it cannot be put on me. The burden is on the Board of Ed to state — and PUBLISH — exactly what will happen if they run out of makeup days.

            It really is not that difficult to give us specific scenarios, every year, in the event of a lengthy closure. It takes one meeting to finalize and approve all that.. NOT REALLY A DIFFICULT CONCEPT OR REQUEST.

            People who do happen to travel a lot (and you cannot villainize someone for that) should be able to plan properly. It’s that simple. All you need is more preparedness on the part of the Town to solve this moving forward.

            Now, about this year? I have absolutely no idea. Perhaps the Board of Ed should have been prepared before the year started.

            • I did not miss your point; the BOE should be required to plan for uncertain events but you should not. By now you should be aware that school calendars may be altered by unforeseen events, and thus you should be prepared to alter your plans as well. If you chose to ignore the possibility of changes in the calendar, you do so at your own risk.

              • Westport Convert

                I have no problem adjusting plans. I do have a problem with not making the contingency plan known, in advance. This should be agreed to and set forth prior to the calendar is published.

  26. Amen

  27. Time out!

    Can we just convince the State of Connecticut to lower the number of required days for school, from 180 to 176??

  28. What's more important???

    So if the board gave you two or three different scenarios, would you book two or three different vacations? Unlikely… I think it is a matter of priority: you book the vacation and if it can happen: great! If it cannot happen because of a hurricane, then you prioritize and you pick kids school time over vacation. Or… you don’t and you simply take your kids out of school for those few days – you still have a choice.

  29. The world needs ditch diggers too….

  30. The contingency plan has always been to go another week into summer vacation. (that’s what we did when I was growing up) The whole argument is premised on the fact that most people don’t want to do that and would prefer to come up with another option.

    • There will be people who complain that by extending the school year you are forcing them to change their summer vacation plans.

      • Summer Continuing Ed classes begin the Monday after the school year ends. Many of these classes are high school credit classes which is why Dr. Landon and the BOE are not considering extending the school year. That just creates more problems. As an aside, I wish more readers were concerned about getting the needed educational days in for the kids and less concerned about their vacation plans. If folks from Staten Island, Long Island or New Jersey read some of these comments, they would think that many Westporters have lost their sense of priorities.

        • Westport Delight

          Keep spewing your ill-informed assumptions, Elise Russi. You cannot compare the situation on Staten Island to a freaking school calendar in Connecticut. How offensive.

          You are like one of those people that thinks chastising a dissenting opinion actually makes you LOOK GOOD. Unfortunately, that’s not the case and you’re coming off rather ugly.

          People are trying to turn this into priorities and self-serving issues. Sorry, but it’s not that deep. It is, instead, pretty simple:

          The Board of Education did not have a proper backup plan in place and, furthermore, they NEVER published one. That is one them…not those of us who have family reunions in Europe and cannot change it. The Board of Ed should be more responsible.

          If they had already decided on one of these options BEFORE the school year began, I can promise you I wouldn’t be making a big deal about it..even if it did conflict with this trip. My issue is not with the conflicts, but with the way it’s handled.

          YOU have to possess the necessary foresight to — at the very least — be prepared for the very worse… and then actually COMMUNICATE IT TO THE PARENTS. Before the year starts. It’s as simple as that.

          • How can the BOE possibly know what the worst is? Your issue is with conflicts and priorities. You decided to book a trip and nature intervened.

          • Westport Delight, you should change your handle to Westport Self Serving. You must only be a Delight if everything goes exactly as you planned it to go. God forbid a monkey wrench is thrown into your precious plans & then the venom & personal attacks start to spew. Elise Russi continues to express very valid opinions which obviously conflict with your plans. Shame on your childish behaviour.

            • …Says the bitter puppet.

              • The people gnashing their teeth about losing money on interupted vacations are in many cases the same people who voted for increases in tax rates on January 1, 2013 the costs of which will dwarf the costs of the interupted vacation.

      • Plus there’s a contingent of Westport youth who are shipped away for 7 weeks each summer and that usually begins the weekend school is regularly out. I don’t think Daddy and Mommy will be happy if they can’t get rid of Junior on time so they can head to the Vinyard.

        • You mean Nantucket?

          • Right. Because it’s a crime for kids to go to sleep away camp or for parents in Westport to have a summer house.

            My gosh. If this is how you treat Westport residents with the ability to spend on summer luxuries, I do not want to know how you nasty people treat the full-time New Yorkers who have $3 million+ summer homes in Westport.

            There are many more than you think. Do you belittle them for spending their money and bringing their kids up north, to the suburbs? And people wonder why there is this perceived “class warfare” in the country. So very sad…

        • I find your comment incredibly offensive. How would you feel if someone said “what about those unsupervised teens with too much time on their hands during those 7 weeks? Pot, alcohol, and getting into trouble.”

          • There are 8 year olds in this town shipped off each summer for 7 weeks, pretty sure they’re a little young for pot, alcohol, etc. I get it, it’s a “cultural” thing, I just think it’s pretty lame.

            • Wow. You definitely used to live in Westport but now cannot afford to and have unnecessary resentment toward the town. I think I saw you in the Occupy Wall Street group last year… How’s that going for you?

              • You want the truth? I’m not in the 1%, I’m i in the 1% of the 1%. I was born and bred here, and now have a big house with the Sound in my back yard. I have no resentment, I love this town and pay more in taxes than you’ll make next year. But commenting about the Jewish kids being shipped off to the Camps isn’t some snarky comments – it’s what they do. Call it what you will, but there’s a generation of kids who went to PA, or NH, or ME and missed what my kids missed at Longshore and Compo.

                • You could be the infamous Melissa and Doug paying hundreds of thousands in taxes every year for all I care. It doesn’t change the fact that you belittle and disregard those parents who choose to send their children off to an out-of-state camp.

                  I cannot believe I am defending them, because I was born and bred here too and send my kids to the camps at Mahackeno/Longshore/Compo/etc. But how does that make you or me better than someone else who lives in Westport and sends their child off to another camp?

                  It’s absolutely ludicrous for you to crucify families when you have no clue about the factors. Perhaps there is a camp in MA with generational ties to a family, or maybe there is a camp in PA that specializes in a particular skill set (the arts, science, etc.). Who are we to judge these people? And on a public blog with anonymous labels no less. Myself included.

                  It’s nuts! If you think that’s normal or appropriate, I suggest you send your children away instead. They could use a break from you and your perception of Westport.

                • Money can't stop stupid

                  “…it’s what they do”
                  WTF?! What else do they do? You seem to be an expert on these matters and clearly one of our betters. Please elaborate, Mr .01%.

  31. What would happen if we just said, “because of the storm, we are not able to get in 182 days of instruction this year.” … Just wondering….

  32. Why don’t we consider a six day school week

  33. not to mention the revenue the town would get from an extra week of renters here. In Michigan (another state that relys on tourism) it is mandated that the first day be after labor day to insure that teachers can finish their summer employment in a summer/resort industry

  34. Thought this was helpful info….from 2011

  35. We moved to Westport in 1989 for the schools, music and athletic programs, and marvelous town resources. We moved here to be active volunteers in the community. We did not move here for opportunities to take expensive vacations during the school year with no trip insurance. Other towns around us are not having this debate: they simply decided to cancel April vacation already. The education of Westport’s children should be the TOP priority. While I empathize with people who booked vacations for February and April, the BOE will make their decision on what is best for the students — as they should. I do agree, however, that the BOE and Dr. Landon need to have more “weather days” planned for next year (5 would be the minimum: 3 is way too low), and we should move to a long President’s Day weekend and a week in early spring. That way, there would still be a few days in mid-June that could serve as wiggle room. If the Fairfield County educators got together, they would all try to plan a coordinated calendar — this is important for high school sports and for standardized testing. Let’s focus our energies on helping them do this for 2013-14 year and beyond!

  36. Another Wpt Parent

    I’m a little confused by many of the comments above. To me, and I don’t think I’m alone here, the vacations and rich experiences many of us share with our kids are a part of why Westport students emerge as bright young test takers. If it were completely about in-school instruction, the kids in Bridgeport would have test scores rivaling other public schools under the state curriculum. Frankly, I fear losing the vacation days because I don’t want to lose that precious time with my kids.

    • Thank you for the illumination, let me get this straight to help foster good grades for their children instead of wasting money on expensive tutors parents would be better off spending money on expensive vacations. Could you please present your analysis to the BOE I am sure they would be happy to pass this information along to all Westport parents & the State of CT.

      • Another Wpt Parent

        It’s not about money. It’s fundamentally about spending time together doing something, not necessarily something expensive.

      • According to a recent NYTimes article:

        “Unlike New York public schools, which are required to be in session 180 days a year, private schools set their own schedules. At Horace Mann, (…) the children attended 155 days last year. ”

        My sense is that kids who are attending Horace Mann are doing just a tad better than the kids at NY public schools, despite the travesty of not receiving an additional 15 days in classrooms like their public school counterparts. There are many factors that determine what constitutes a great education. Instructional time is certainly one them, but you can’t be serious in thinking that as long as every kid sits in a room for the same number of days every year, they will be receiving the same education. I think that’s what Another Wpt Parent was trying to get across.

        What Another Wpt Parent is saying is that family time, and particularly family travel time can represent some of the most rich and foundational experiences for a student. And let’s face it, families that do things together tend to have kids that are more successful both academically and in life generally. And it’s not about where they travel, how they travel or how much money they spent. It’s about the fact that they explored someplace in the world (other than Westport) together. To be clear, the debate on this blog is about a legislative mandate (to compel a minimum number of days in school), but no one should be sucked into believing that because politicians voted this minimum requirement that it de facto equals better education, and that if it is not met, by heaven-forbid, a couple days in a single year, that our students will all suffer permanent academic damage.

        The real answer to the town’s dilemma is simply asking The State of CT to waive the requirement this year given the extraordinary circumstances facing our community. I’m highly confident that children in the Westport public schools will be just fine.

        Also, in the future, if school holidays are “optional”, it would really be helpful if the BOE notified parents in advance of a year which ones are the optional days so that they could plan any “expensive vacations” with minimal disruption.

        And please, Bitterpuppet… let’s stop making family vacations a topic of class warfare (“let me get this straight to help foster good grades for children instead of wasting money on expensive tutors parents would be better of spending money on expensive vacations”). Another Westport Parent, never mentioned tutors and never mentioned expense. Your comment is insulting, inaccurate and divisive.

  37. Given that we have had so many “extraordinary” storms in the past few years, I agree that it would make sense for the BOE to determine and articulate a set policy with respect to make-up days, rather than make that decision in an ad hoc manner each year, so families’ plans can have some certainty. For example, the BOE policy could state: “days will first be added to extend the school year up to and including June xx, then Martin Luther King (or other specified one day holidays), then April Vacation starting with Monday . . . ” etc. While there really is no way of knowing year to year what the weather is going to bring and how many days we would be required to make up, with a set policy people would have a better idea of the risks involved in planning trips at certain times. I, too, wish we could gain a week of play in the calendar by having only a March vacation, but we seem to be hamstrung by the CMT testing schedule. If enough school systems lobbied to change the vacation structure and testing schedule, perhaps the state could be convinced to move the CMTs to February or April.

  38. Another Wpt Parent

    For sure. I had assumed, wrongly, that extra days are added to the end of the year, because that’s how I remember it happening in the past. So maybe they identify a system, like every day over the 3 contingencies comes out of April break, starting on the Monday. Or whatever. But let’s know that up front so we know which vacation days are firm, which aren’t. This year, no matter what they pick, lots of kids will miss a few days of in-class time for other experiences previously scheduled. Not the end of the world.

  39. Westport Delight

    I’m encouraged by the most recent comments. Finally, some rational thinking.

    I clearly wasn’t saying (or TYPING) it the right way.. “Another Wpt Parent” and “bhamer” and Kerry Foley all nailed each point perfectly. Thanks for doing what I was unable to do.

    Maybe now the “bitterpuppet” and Elise Rossi will at least understand what I am attempting to argue. If school conflicts with a vacation, it conflicts. Whatever! I have no issue with that. I do, however, take issue with the fact that the Board of Ed did not have a contingency plan already in place and could not have it published WITH the ’12-’13 school year calendar. Sorry, but that’s simply inexcusable for a town such as ours.

    • I am wondering if you know of any public school district that publishes such a contingency plan.

      • Another Wpt Parent

        I think we can’t beat Westport up this year for not having a plan–no one has been through this before. But next year, that’s a different story. I think my objection for this year is the potential giving up of vacation days–as if they they don’t have value–so we can have a few bonus, or worse, contingency school days. Really there needs to be a balance as time with the family is short too.

        • Time with the family is too short!!! I guess that would only be the case if your child is shipped off to summer camp. Otherwise there seems to be more than enough time for families to be together.

      • I don’t know of any other school districts with such a plan. I always presumed that extra days were added to the end of the school year. I believe the teacher contracts allow them to teach until June 30th (but don’t quote me on that). Assuming that’s true, based on this year’s calendar, once we lost the three built-in days, we technically could lose another 6 school days (or 8 if we bring our instructional calendar down to 180 vs. 182 days), and not have to take away any Feb/April vacation days. If we added to the end of the year, with the 5 days we lost now, school would end on Monday, June 24. We could lose 6 more days to closures, and end on June 28 with a 180 day calendar. That said, I understand why instructional time added at the end of the year has significantly less value to at least one subset of students (AP exam takers). And for everyone with plans in April, there will be a crowd with travel plans the last week in June.

        • Sleepaway camps start 6/23. You want to see some fireworks then mess with that one.

          • Exactly why it’s a no-win situation for the BOE members no matter which option they choose. I don’t envy them.

            • It’s not that difficult. Just request exemption from the state and move on…

              • The state would never give a waiver if a district still had vacation days in its schedule. Only if you used up every possible day before 6/30 and came up short on 180 days would they even consider it. Also, no weekend days, no extended hours.

      • Fairfield has a contingency plan that’s on their calendar. First six days off are added to the end of the school year and subsequent days will be taken from April break, starting with Monday. They also traded in February break for a 4 day weekend.

        • Westport Delight

          Exactly. Is it really that difficult for Westport to do the same????? Just asking. Come on.

  40. Most ground has been well-covered here, but I’d like to remind that kids spend their vacation time in many ways. My son is spending February break as a counselor at a winter camp. This is an employment opportunity and a commitment – one that cannot be “cancelled” as a vacation might be. In April he will be traveling with Builders Beyond Borders on a service trip, together with many other students from Staples and our neighboring communities; likewise a commitment. Other kids are visiting colleges or grandparents or engaging in activities which may not be able to be rescheduled. If April break was taken away he would likely still travel with B3, but could he well make up the instruction time missed, especially in AP classes?

    I was disheartened by our superintendent’s message which implied that vacations are solely discretionary in nature and also always parent-planned:
    “With the spring recess planned for April, many months in advance, any plans parents and staff might wish to make for that vacation period can be postponed or canceled,” Landon said.
    Please BOE members look for a way to utilize staff development days, be satisfied with 180 vs. 182 instruction days this year and work with Hartford for relief as well.

  41. How about we look at the way that time is spent in the classroom. I personally believe that the hours spent on the Halloween parties, “Winter Holiday” parties, Valentine’s parties, etc. as well as the time that my middle schoolers have attended school only to sit in front of non-academic related Disney videos because the teachers felt that the day before a vacation the kids wouldn’t concentrate on regular studies are a complete waste of time.
    April break is the only way for most high school juniors and seniors making final decisions on college to visit schools. My HS junior doesn’t want to miss regular school days to visit college campuses. There are only 2 excuses absences allowed for college visits. It is ill-advised to visit campuses on weekends and during the summer as the visit does not give a good example of college life. Most campuses are closed on MLK and President’s Day.

  42. We travel in April every year without fail, however I support canceling the April vacation.

    If we have a bad winter, we could end up with 5 more snow days.

    At least if we were to cancel the break, we would know NOW, sooner than later, that we have five full instructional days that we can count on; most importantly for the Staples students that have so much curriculum to cover and/or are preparing for AP exams.

    I feel for the kids that have plans, the Builders Beyond Borders trips, college visits etc; I have a Staples student myself and would need to make adjustments too. But this is a unique situation that presents unique circumstances requiring a difficult solution; one that won’t make everyone happy.

    Perhaps they could tack on another day to the Easter weekend to make it a four day break?

  43. Michael McGovern

    Break the record yet Dan?

  44. Here’s the answer for people who have vacation plans and are horribly upset: Tough. A hurricane happened.

    Be happy you’re not dead or picking up the pieces on Long Island or New Jersey and swallow the pill. Life sucks sometimes.

    • Westport Volunteer and Parent

      You are comparing apples and oranges, but trying to tie it all nicely together by using the Superstorm. Give me a break. This dispute over the calendar adjustment cannot be compared to the situation in New Jersey. Attempting to do that is a simple-minded copout.

      Our concern and intensity regarding this issue should have no bearing on the horrible wreckage south of us. You just can’t compare or connect the two, even if they are both a result of the same storm.

      By chastising and discrediting the spirited comments and conversation, you are making blanket statements and general assumptions. I have spent the last week driving back and forth to Long Island, assisting with the clean-up. I am fully aware of the carnage… But that doesn’t change the fact that this decision, while inconsequential to those in Jersey, is an important one to Westport. It’s all relative in scope.

  45. I’m fairly sure that with a large enough following, the superintendent can petition Governor Malloy to “forgive” the school days lost as a result of the storm. Fairfield County was federally considered a disaster area, so its not like there aren’t extenuating circumstances, and I’ve heard of parents in other towns within the country attempting to start something similar. Just a thought.

    • Why “forgive” days if there is time to make them up? The issue is not finding the days; the issue is inconveniencing the parents in a town full of parents who are sure their plans are so important school time should be sacrificed rather than their plans altered.

      • David J Loffredo

        Well said.

        • Agreed! The state of CT is not going to grant a waiver on minimum requirements to Westport when other coastline communities proactively cancelled their spring vacations last week. That’s why Dr. Landon and the BOE are NOT exploring this option — it is not viable — and the winter weather season has not yet begun.

      • Learning can be found in other places beside the classroom. Aka traveling.

        • Every kid tries that line on his parents.

          • Westport Delight

            You cannot dispute the facts. Travel and exploration, in moderation, has an astounding impact on a child’s understanding of geography/history/culture/etc.

            • What FACTS Westport Delight????? Is there any proof that kids who travel & explore in moderation do best in history & geography classes @ Staples? Or maybe you have some information that kids who travel in moderation end up in careers as historians & geographers. If that is the case could you please stop being so selfish & pass that information along to the BOE so they can enlighten the other parents who are not aware of these FACTS.

  46. Wondering Out Loud

    What an amazing bunch of silliness. Rolling my eyes at what many write given their offered priorities of privilege. Last I looked vacations were a luxury (particularly the ones many take who live in Westport). Can’t believe the whining displayed. — a massive storm happened. Many were inconvenience or worse. Our schools were not able to be open for five planned days. Winter is about to happen. I think all will agree this is about our kids. That is why most of us move to Westport — for the schools and the fine education offered. Let’s not quibble about the matter. Our children need the education they deserve. It may be a bit of inconvenience for some, a lost deposit for others but let’s remain focused on what is important — the education of our kids. They deserve our support AND a fully school year.

  47. concerned parent

    Does anyone know if mid-term week is counted as part of the 180/182 days of school?

  48. just tack on an hour to the school day for a month. everything solved.

    • Uh, no. Because the satae requires days not instructional hours. We have covered that ground; wrong but sensible.

  49. As you can see Westport is not alone in this dilemma but I do believe that the president of the Wilton PTA has it correct.

    Maggie Dobbins, president of the Wilton High PTA, said the district should have built the weather days into the schedule so, if all the days were not used, the school year could end sooner.
    Dobbins said, however, if she could choose from one of the three options the administration has offered, she’d choose the one that takes three days away from the February break. She plans to talk with other Wilton High parents about schedule adjustments at the PTA’s next meeting.
    ”They don’t need another week off in February and it would help the teachers with consistency,” said Dobbins, who added that she would prefer the school year not end on June 21.

    • Clearly not a skiier

      Those who prefer to take out February rather than April must not ski, which is why ultimately I think a compromise in March is the best long term solution.

  50. Question for Dan. Is this the greatest number of posts for one subject? Seems so to me.

  51. Not even close. Chabad/Wilton Road had 217 comments.

  52. Coleytown Curmudgeon

    Here we are: three days and more than 145 comments. After reading this chain, one begins to wonder if Westport children might benefit from more than 180 days of mandated school. It might help them learn to pay more attention than their parents.

    I lost count of the number of people who jumped into this debate without learning the parameters: the State requires every district to provide 180 days (or more) of school; missed days cannot be made up on Saturdays or Sundays, nor can they be made up by extending the school day; and the school year must end on or before June 30th. (See George Coleman’s letter, which was cited Sunday:

    The Westport School calendar always includes a few extra days for “snow” and this year’s calendar currently has three. One can argue that the Board of Education should include more snow days in the future, but we must remember that the school calendar is decided 20-22 months in advance. The current calendar was approved by the Board of Education on December 6, 2010, long before Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Irene or the Halloween 2011 snowstorm. In fact, the BOE approved the current school calendar 21 days before the Boxing Day blizzard of 2010, the first of many severe snowstorms, which struck our region that winter.

    We can’t blame the BOE for failing to foresee the dramatic change in weather, which we have experienced since December 26, 2010. Back then most of us assumed that climate change (or good luck) was giving us increasingly mild winters and we were shocked by all the snow that fell in early 2011. After all, we hadn’t had an old-fashioned New England winter superstorm since the Great Blizzard of ’93.

    It’s understandable that parents, who didn’t grow up in Westport or New England, might assume that our school district makes up missed days at the end of the year. That is what Westport did in June 2011: after much debate, the BOE voted on February 7, 2011 to extend the year and not shorten or cancel April Break.

    This year, however, our children have missed five days of school before Thanksgiving. Dr. Landon is rightfully concerned that they might miss more before May, so he doesn’t want to simply extend the school year. He has put April Break on the chopping block – just as superintendents used to do decades ago, when we had severe winters.

    I’ll leave the rest of you to argue whether the nonrefundable vacations of a few should trump the educational requirements of Westport’s children; or whether family vacations are equal or superior in educational value to time in the classroom. But before I go, I would like to point out that Dr. Landon has offered a rather elegant choice: cancel April Break or shorten it. If you cancel April Break, you leave the long weekends in the winter, when Westporters can go north and west to ski (if they can get out of their driveways). If you want an April Break, then we can shorten the long weekends in the winter and give you a five-day weekend to celebrate Tax Day. And for those of you who have already booked an entire week in another time zone, you will have to decide if you want to cancel your vacation or take your children out of school for two days. Yes, you are arguing about two days!

    • Westport Convert

      Many could argue that you are wrong in your defense of the BOE. They are charged with the responsibility and foresight to properly manage our schools and, more importantly, our school calendars.

      If you do not have a contingency plan already established and, at the very least, on record (if not published) such as Fairfield then I honestly believe many of us would not be on here complaining.

      Once you have to make changes in the middle of a school year and you open it up to “debate,” it all changes. The BOE should always have a Plan B. It’s completely unacceptable not to. That’s basic management skills.

      • Managing the school calendar is more important than managing the schools! That was a joke right?

        BTW The BOE does have a plan B. You just don’t like it.

        • Westport Convert

          Your “BTW” is incorrect. They clearly do not have a Plan B, since it was not published with the school calendar. If they did, like the Fairfield schools do, there wouldn’t be as big of an uproar.

          Grow up and have some common sense.

          • That’s funny coming from someone who thinks managing the school calendar is more important than managing the schools. And why is that? So you can go on vacation? Typical.

            • Westport Convert

              School Calendars dictate how people arrange their lives for nine months out of the year. You cannot discount the importance and weight these kinds of changes have.

              I say it again… PUBLISH THE CONTINGENCY PLAN IN ADVANCE. That way we aren’t sitting here, in November, trying to figure out what to do. It would already be solved. They could take after Fairfield on this.

              Just saying.

              • If you had two or three contingency plans, how would you know which one would become effective? In fact, if there are more than two possible schedules how will you plan your vacation? Your logic is faulty. If the potential senarios which would require an alternation in the schedule are numerous, why have only two or three contingency plans, why not 6 or 7? Why not N? Sh!t happens; get used to it.

                • Westport Convert

                  I again go back to the main point:

                  There should be one, primary contingency plan set in stone and published with the schedule when released. The Fairfield Schools do it. It’s really NOT that difficult. Quit trying to nullify this valid argument. It is completely unacceptable for Westport’s Board of Ed to be deciding this now. It should already have been decided.

                  I refer back to this wonderful comment by Anonymous… “Fairfield has a contingency plan that’s on their calendar. First six days off are added to the end of the school year and subsequent days will be taken from April break, starting with Monday. They also traded in February break for a 4 day weekend.”

                  Maybe the plan itself isn’t perfect but at least they have it already created and included on the calendar. With all due respect to Fairfield, if that town can have the foresight then Westport can have it too. Don’t start throwing around hypotheticals to try and distract from my main point. Stay on track.

                  • Supppose the one contingency plan does not cover the actual event? Then what would you whine about? You want the BOE to anticipate that which cannot be anticipated. Smart plan.

                    • You’re telling me the Fairfield contingency plan, for example, wouldn’t cover weeks of missed school??? Look at the quote I provided. You keep discrediting a legitimate argument by attempting to make it all about whining. Get over yourself, please.

                    • Which quote? The one about asking the state for an exaemption? A brilliant contingency plan if there ever was one. If there is more than one contingency plan, there are no dates that are certain. Just learn to live with uncertainty.

                  • Attention Fairfield lovers:
                    The Fairfield Board of Ed is going to vote on a motion at their Nov. 27th meeting to NOT apply any additional snow days to the April break, as their beloved policy states, but instead will add them on to the end of the school year, all the way up to June 28th if need be. That will be one high quality week of instruction, don’t you think? I wonder if any Fairfield parents will sue them for money lost on vacations starting that last week in June. I wonder if those camp bound kids will be on the bus on Sunday 6/23 or will they stay behind to finish off their school year? I’m sure Fairfield parents will be out with torches and pitchforks over this violation of published policy- printed right there on the school calendar for all to see. Or maybe they will say “oh well, sh!t happens” and get on with their lives.

  53. Anonymous, Donor to Dan's Site (Do you donate?)

    (…a little off-topic, but I’m not the first…..) Just some thoughts about how to capture some instructional days…The current philosophy of the Westport School System is that students are best served spending Veteran’s Day in school, where they can learn and about and appreciate the meaning of the holiday. Why not extend this philosophy to Columbus Day, Election Day (I know there are concerns about sharing the buildings as polling places during instructional time, but Darien found a way to make it work this year), and even MLK, Jr. or Presidents’ Days on alternating years? There may have to be some give and take with contractual staff, but students spending these days in school would help to front-load instructional days in the school calendar in years going forward.

  54. Greens Farms Academy has much fewer school days. Why don’t you enroll your kids there??

  55. Richard Lawrence Stein

    What about throwing a few Saturdays into the mix… For making up days…. Most of Westport youth are involved in some sport or activity and are here… Seems like an obvious alternative… Make them half days…. And the also remove the Veterdays m.l.k. Days and Columbus days and make them educational teaching days.

  56. Chef has the day off

    No, no, this won’t work for me, oh wait a minute. my child graduated so I don’t really care what they do. I will say that as a CT child of the 60’s, after a brutal winter, we were in class on a Saturday or two

  57. Another town addressing the problem by cutting into the February break. Can’t understand why Westport can’t follow the leads of Wilton & Norwalk by looking @ February instead of April break.

    NORWALK — Hurricane Sandy might just knock February break off the schools’ calendar. At the Board of Education meeting Tuesday night, Interim Superintendent Tony Daddona recommended class be in session Feb. 15 and Feb. 19 during the Friday-to-Tuesday February break. The plan also turns the March 22 professional development day into a half-day with two day tacked on to the end of the school year.

  58. Add two days at the end of the school year, cut two days from the April break, and elminate one teacher development day, and all five days lost have been replaced.

    • problem is the 2nd day at at the end of the year would be a following Monday — Not a useful day since noone will show…I say go back to 180 — cutting out 2 of the required days would effectively accomplish this.

  59. Ok. Are we going for the Comment record on this one or not?

  60. I have an idea.

    We still may lose some days because of snow so we need to plan for more than the days already lost.

    The first thing I would do would be to reschedule all staff development days and have the students come in. The staff development days should be moved to the weekends. I work at least a weekend a month in my private sector job, the teachers should have to do the same when the company/school needs it.

    School on Good Friday and MLK day. No effect on the breaks