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The Complexities of the Greenwich School Calendar, and more

Are you in favor of pre- or post- Presidents' Day week off?

Presidents' Day Off ... or On?

Students are returning back to school on Tuesday after enjoying a February break Greenwich style. The district is unusual as it currently takes its February break before and including Presidents' Day while many surrounding communities take the break beginning with Presidents' Day.

Families have express their view that the pre-President's Day break allows for both availability and affordability at vacation spots whether they opt for snow or sand. Even day-tripping is less crowded because most schools are in session.

The district has flip-flopped between pre- and post- Presidents' Day since 2009 but decided on pre for 2010 through 2012 as well as 2013. The Board of Education has yet to decide on the 2014 break.

As currently proposed, in 2014 the District is planning to break Feb. 17 through Feb. 21 with the 17th being Presidents' Day. The Greenwich Association for Education (GAE), the teachers’ union, has been a vocal supporter of the post-holiday break as it affords teachers and staff who do not live in Greenwich the opportunity to have their break at the same time as their families.

Board members and others have supported the pre-holiday break as it ensures the most educational class time after the break and before the March standardized testing process beings across the district.

The 2013-2014 district calendar will be on the board's agenda at this Thursday’s meeting, this time though it is up for a vote. The topic of this calendar previously appeared on the Nov. 17, Dec. 1, Dec. 22 and Jan. 19 agendas.

At the January meeting, PTA Council President Lisa Beth Savitz said in reference to the proposed 2013-2014 calendar that "most PTAs prefer that the February Break precede Presidents' Day rather than follow it, but that they are far happier with a year that ends earlier in June and does not have students start on a Friday."

The decision on the calendar has been drawn out as the Administration has spent time vetting the options with stakeholders including GOSA, GEA and PTAC. "We greatly appreciate the Superintendent consulting with us and with the employee unions to achieve the compromise before you," said Savitz during her January comments.

In December, the Council comments referred to the impossible task of calendar making; "As we are all aware, there is no way to make everyone happy with the school schedule without violating the laws of physics."

Back To Business

In addition to the calender vote, the Board of Education meeting at New Lebanon School Thursday evening is expected to hear an update from the Administration on possible methods for tracking gradutes as well as an update on the district's capital and operating budgets which were presented to the BET Budget Committee earlier this month.

The Consent Agenda will incude action on the following:

Kindergarten Orientation and Registration Schedule

The Greenwich Public Elementary Schools have announced plans to welcome and register incoming - Fall 2012 - kindergarten children and their parents.

Starting with a Kindergarden Orientation for parents, which is held at each school in February and March, parents are then asked to make appointments in March or April for individual meetings at their respective schools.

The next step on the path to the start of school for these youngsters is the Kindergarten Registration process at the schools, which also verifies residency.

In order to prepare them for the upcoming school year, on May 17, incoming Kindergarteners will have the opportunity to expererience classrooms in elementary schools townwide during Kindergarten Visitation Day.

The GPS website has Kindergarten Orientation and Registration schedules for each of the Greenwich Public Elementary Schools (also posted on Patch.) All schools mail invitations for Kindergarten Visitation Day to families that have registered and/or are otherwise known to the schools as having incoming Kindergarten students.

To be eligible for Kindergarden children must turn five (5) by December 31, 2012. Dismissal /buses for this year’s kindergarten classes will be at 12 noon on May 17 in order for the incoming students to orient in the afternoon. Welcome class of 2025!

RVL February 20, 2012 at 06:34 PM
I love the vacation week being pre Presidents Day, makes things much more affordable when traveling and a lot less crowded
Greenmom February 20, 2012 at 09:13 PM
I prefer the earlier week. It can often be very difficult for working parents to take the Presidents Day week off because everyone you work with wants it off too. The week before allows for more flexibility for parents who can't easily take peak vacation weeks off.
Eric L February 21, 2012 at 12:55 AM
Welcome back Greenwich residents from a glorious 10 day break with your kids! Moving winter break back to President's week would be a big mistake for the board, who was elected to represent Greenwich residents. As others have indicated, our current winter break is substantially more affordable for family vacations, is much less competitive for working parents to take vacation than President's week, and gives us an extra day together as a family. With every respect to the subset of our hard working teachers with children in other school districts, we should be doing what is best for a whole town of taxpaying residents who want to be with their families, who have made future family vacation commitments already (yes, some families have booked for 2014), and who respect that the traditional Greenwich winter break calendar is yet another positive differentiator for our residents. I hope our Board of Education does the right thing, and represents the interests of the citizens, who love our special winter break!
Sue Moretti Rogers February 21, 2012 at 02:15 AM
The proposal put forward by the Superintendent Thursday evening on the 2013-2014 calendar is as follows: Revisions have been made to the 2013-14 School Year Calendar which were discussed at the December 22, 2011 Board Meeting in alignment with discussions with PTAC, GEA and GOSA representatives:  Friday, August 23, 2013 will be a Professional Development Day for Teachers  The first day of school for 6th and 9th graders has been changed to Monday, August 26, 2013  The first day of school for all students has been changed to Tuesday, August 27, 2013  Schools will be open for students and staff on Election day, Tuesday, November 5, 2013  February and April breaks remain unchanged The calendar remains at 181 days for students. This proposal has the February break including and FOLLOWING Presidents' Day. The Board is scehduled to vote on this proposal Thursday evening at New Lebanon School. There is an opportunity for public comment at 7:00 p.m. or you can email your opinion to the 8 Board members: http://www.greenwichschools.org/page.cfm?p=85

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