New school calendar to be considered

  • Jul. 4, 2011 8:00 p.m.

Would students and teachers be willing to go back to school in August instead of September in exchange for longer holidays at Christmas and spring break?That’s what the school board wants to find out. Trustees voted June 28 to start consulting with students, parents and district employees, asking whether they are interested in a slight change to the traditional school calendar. Superintendent Angus Wilson presented trustees with two models. Both models add one week to the Christmas break (it would start around Dec. 14 instead of Dec. 21) and one week to spring break (the break would cover the last two weeks of March, instead of one week). One model has the school year starting on Aug. 27 and ending July 8; the other has the school year starting Aug. 20 and ending June 28. The earliest the change would take effect is the 2012-13 school year, Mr. Wilson said. There will be no change for the upcoming school year, which has classes returning Sept. 6. Trustees agreed generally that they like the model that adds two weeks at the beginning of the school year, rather than continuing school into July. Most students look forward to the end of classes in June, but are bored by mid-August with the long summer break, said trustee Christine Martynuik. Ms Martynuik said some families would appreciate the Christmas break starting earlier, as it would give them a chance to buy cheaper plane tickets if they want to go off-island. “I think it’s a good idea to send this out to the community and see,” Ms Martynuik said. Trustee Elizabeth Condrotte agreed. “I love it and I’d like to move you go ahead and start investigating,” she said. Trustees all voted in favour of consulting the public about the plan, although trustee Sharon Matthews cautioned that the board should not make any changes to the school calendar unless there is full public support for it.