School Board Considers Doing Away with February Vacation

Parents are asked to return a survey of vacation preferences before the next Board meeting.

The Windsor Board of Education recently considered the elimination of February vacation in the district for the 2012-13 school year.

While the board's official vote is pending a survey of district parents, a majority of board members supported doing away with the week-long break in favor of a four-day weekend.

The 2012-13 calendar options were presented to the Board by Director of Human Resources Dr. Craig Cooke on December 19.

Option A reflected the district's current vacation schedule with the requisite 183 instructional days.

While Option B included 183 instructional days as well, it initially did away with the February vacation completely.

Board members Cristina Santos and Richard O'Reilly opposed Plan B on the basis that no February vacation would be disruptive to family life and education in the classroom.

Santos, who is an educator in another district, said she experienced the loss of February vacation this year because of snow days and it had a negative impact on education, particularly at the elementary level.

"At the elementary levee, the stamina fro the children is not there… Then to get through the month of March, the children were wiped, and the staff was wiped," she said.

"The students really need that break before they have to take the five weeks in March that they have to endure."

When discussing the elimination of February vacation in past meetings, Board members have been weary of attendance, speculating that families may schedule vacations and trips during that time whether an official vacation is scheduled or not.

Though recognizing that having no break toward the beginning of the year will allow greater instructional time leading up to CMT and CAPT testing, Board member Christopher Watts said that going through the first three months of the year without a break would not be favorable.

Ultimately, the Board voted to accept a draft of Plan B, eliminating the February break, but adding an additional vacation day to create a four-day weekend from February 15-18. February 18 was already provided as a day off.

The Board's official decision on the vacation is pending feedback received from parents via a survey. 

The Board has asked that parents return the survey before the next meeting, which is on January 15.


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