BOE Scheduling Decision Leaves Feb. and April Breaks Intact


Nate Rosen

The BOE made a unanimous decision to keep both the Feb. and April breaks. Staff development days have been split and added to help account for the days lost during Hurricane Sandy.

Students, keep your packing lists. Parents, keep your tickets booked. Teachers, get ready for the break that you planned for. The Westport Board of Education decided on the night of Dec. 3, 2012, with a unanimous vote, that the February and April school recesses will remain intact.

From Oct. 29 to Nov. 2, the Westport Public Schools closed following power outages, floods, and the general destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy. The missed days of school threatened to shorten or possibly eliminate the Feb. and April school breaks. But now students, parents, and faculty alike can prepare for their normal school breaks.

Instead of taking away a portion of either break, the Board of Education has decided to split a staff development day and incorporate it into half-days of school. For students, the days will add up to a full day of instruction and will simultaneously include a mandatory professional development day.

In addition to the split staff development days, which are scheduled to take place in Jan. and Feb., there will be an additional staff development day on Sat., April 6. However, this date may be subject to change due to complications with elementary school events.

A final decision on the January half-day followed by a half professional development day will be released by 12:00 p.m. tomorrow, as there are some issues regarding this day and the scheduling of midterms, according to Superintendent Elliott Landon.

As far as other possible snow days, Dr. Landon joked that “there’s no way I’m closing school this year.” However, if snow days were to arise, they would not be added to the end of the school year, which can account for up to three more snow days.

Graduation is currently set for June 20, 2013, and all that is left to do is wait to see if any more snow days will in fact push this date back to June 25 at the latest.

Before the final scheduling decision was made, many Staples students feared the worst: that their beloved breaks would be taken away by the Westport Board of Education (BOE), forcing some already planned vacations to take a rain-check.

“In terms of removing days of break I disagree, but as far as I can see the BOE is going to do whatever they want to reach the required school days,” said Bennett Propp ‘15. “The earlier school ends, the better.”

Propp was not alone. Siri Andrews ‘13 also hoped to preserve the April break. “The days we lost to Hurricane Sandy can be solved by some teachers modifying their plans a little, rather than families having to rework and/or cancel vacations,” Andrews said.

Although many students may be pleased with the BOE’s final decision, extending the graduation date can also affect many the plans of many families.

“Our family will be more impacted by a late graduation date,” said Sandy Rappaport, now a member and former president of the SHS PTA. “I’m keeping my fingers crossed for good weather this year so that it doesn’t go too late.”

While any decision is bound to affect family plans, Rappaport believes that the BOE made a good decision overall.

“My first reaction is that it seems fair because it didn’t disrupt the vacations, which I think are really important to Westport families,” Rappaport said.

However, Rappaport also realizes that losing days before AP exams can pose potential problems due to the fact that teachers and students won’t have any time to make up lost material from the week long “break” in Oct.

Despite this worry, “I generally have confidence that the teachers will once again be able to get enough [missed work] in to help their students do the best that they can,” Rappaport said.

Contributed reporting by Cheyenne Haslett ‘13.