Preservation of February break pleases students

Preservation of February break pleases students

Francesca Truitt ’17

The Connecticut state Board of Education approved a bill in January 2016 that requires all schools in each region to follow a uniform school calendar, allowing each town district five flex days.

In accordance with this bill, Westport would follow the same school calendar as 16 other southern Fairfield County school districts such as Greenwich and Fairfield, among others. If a district did not follow the uniform regional calendar, the bill threatens to withhold 10 percent of said district’s transportation grant. This is because, according to Elliot Landon, the regional uniform school calendar was originally meant to save money on transportation costs through regional cooperation and the cost of professional development.

However, Westport Public Schools, like neighboring Greenwich Public Schools, chose to use four of the five flex days to include a February break in the district calendar. Yet other neighboring towns like Fairfield and Norwalk, follow the regional calendar and only have Feb. 17 and 20 off from school.

Staples students are eager to have the February vacation that so few neighboring towns share.

Charlotte Revelli ’18 is going to New Orleans over the February vacation.

“I think that February break should be kept in Westport since school is filled with so much stress, so it is nice to finally have a break and get away from it,” Revelli said. “It is also necessary for juniors in order to have time to visit colleges.”

James O’Brien ’17 is going to his Grandfather’s house in Long Island over the break. “Seeing my Grandfather sometimes means building things which I always think is fun,” O’Brien said.

If Staples did not use the flex days to create a February break, the school district would have an earlier start to summer like the neighboring towns that forgo a February vacation. In the 2016-2017 academic year, the tentative last day of school, meaning if we have no snow days to delay, in the Westport Public Schools is June 19. In contrast, Fairfield Public Schools’ tentative last day is June 13 and Norwalk Public Schools’ tentative last day is June 9.

O’Brien is happy that Staples has a February break, and concluded that “it was a good decision” on the administrator’s part to have the flex days combine into a winter break, rather than to have them dispersed throughout the year or start earlier summer vacation earlier.

However, not all students have such an optimistic viewpoint on the district’s decision. Claire Tiefenthaler ’17, who is not going away on February vacation, would have rather had the flex days result in an earlier start to summer.

“I don’t usually go away for February break, so whether we had it or not didn’t make much of a difference to me,” Tiefenthaler said. “But it would’ve been nice to get an earlier start to summer so my family could have left earlier for our summer vacation.”

But most students who are vacationing over the break are happy to have it. Abby Turner ’19, who is going to Costa Rica over the February vacation, is happy to have time off in winter over getting an earlier start to summer. “I would rather have a break now because otherwise it would be really hard to go from December all the way until April without a break,” Turner said.