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K-L Board to Vote on Eliminating February Recess

Thursday's school board agenda also includes a discussion on student safety and building security.

Students who had an unexpected week away from school because of Superstorm Sandy will likely see their February mini-break cut to make up for the lost time.

The Katonah Lewisboro school board will vote upon a resolution making Feb. 18 and 19 days that students and staff will report to school.

"Having lost five days of student attendance due to Superstorm Sandy, the district has been working closely with the leadership of our three bargaining units in order to develop a modified calendar that will ensure our compliance with New York State attendance guidelines, and more importantly, provide our students with as much quality classroom time as possible," Scott Persampieri, assistant superintendent for human resources, said in an email to district families this week.

One day was already made up when school was held on Veteran's Day. Additional weather reserve days—April 1 and May 24—may also be added to the calendar as school days, if needed.

The calendar change is in draft form until the board votes tonight.

Also on tap for discussion are these items:

  • Elementary school initiatives: An update from elementary school principals, Carolann Castellano, and Cristy Harris;
  • Superintendent's mid-year update: Discussion led by Paul Kreutzer;
  • School and student safety: Mark Lipton, board president, and Kreutzer will lead a discussion including student "at-risk" behavior,  storm response, and building security.

The meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. in the John Jay High School library.

Editor's note: This story originally stated the "board was expected to eliminate Feb. break," however we have added text to clarify that this calendar change remains in draft form until voted upon by the board. The headline has been revised to reflect that information.

Jean McDonough January 10, 2013 at 02:22 PM
That's all well and good, but how many families already have plans that can't be changed?
Lisa Buchman (Editor) January 10, 2013 at 03:42 PM
Good point. Folks can come to the meeting tonight to voice their concerns. I'm a parent to two kids in the district—we didn't have big plans, and I'm glad to see them in school. What do others think?
Catherine Downs January 10, 2013 at 04:04 PM
I think we need to give everyone time off to recharge. There is so much sickness around as everyone is so run down. A week off at Christmas and then to expect the kids to keep going until Easter is too much. I would advocate a shorter summer vacation and more time off during the year as we see in Europe. Helps to balance the workload for all.
Concerned Parent January 10, 2013 at 04:52 PM
Personally, I think kids need the continuity of school. Everytime students get a break, it takes them a while to readjust. Most of the schools in nearby CT have already had kids go to school on Election and Veterans' days and will have school on MLK and Presidents' days to make up for lost days due to Sandy and more anticipated snow days. I see nothing wrong with kids going to school on these days, and even getting a lesson about why these dates are important to Americans. Let's face it, American kids need more time getting educated in the classroom to compete globally (as proposed in Gov. Cuomo's state address, yesterday). More time off gets kids out of their routine and more run down as a result. What our middle-schoolers need is a later start time so they can get more sleep - and if that means a shorter day, with a longer school year, that's fine, too. Most parents can't afford to ski, nor can they take time off on these federal holidays, so kids should be in school learning. Parents shouldn't be overwhelming kids with activities during the school week, and they should plan for family time on weekends and on summer break, which is what the more relaxed countries around the world do. Perhaps this area can start school in late August, as most of the country does, so we can prudently have snow/hurricane days when needed and not stress so much about getting in our required days and being adequately prepared for testing/assessments.
Deborah Spieler January 10, 2013 at 05:59 PM
There were only those 2 days scheduled off for this year, not the full week, so there should not be as many planned vacations this year. I'm sure some parents will just take the two days off and keep their plans, and that is their right to do so. Personally, I feel that federal holidays that most parents do NOT have off from work, like Veterans Day and Columbus Day, should be the days the kids go to school, actually LEARN something about the meaning of those holidays and have a special day surrounding that theme. Other Westchester districts had already eliminated the February break. I would support just the Prez Day Monday off, not the additional days and then families could still do something special for a long weekend.
Lisa Buchman (Editor) January 10, 2013 at 07:16 PM
Thanks for the comments. @concerned parent: Longer days are on Gov. Cuomo's agenda, based on his state of the state speech. He plans to explore longer school days, a longer school year or a combination. So you may get your wish!
mark January 10, 2013 at 10:14 PM
during every school budget we keep hearing 'its for the children' and now that time needs to be made up, parents of those same children don't want to be inconvenienced. The fact is that school needs to be year round anyway if we are to catch up to the rest of the world.
Ross Revira January 10, 2013 at 10:26 PM
Is your vacation more important than your child's education? Some parents think so.
Concerned Parent January 10, 2013 at 11:09 PM
Not necessarily looking for longer days or a longer school year, but a later morning start for middle schoolers to avoid them leaving home before dawn would be a wise choice. Also, I think a week in December, a week in the spring and summer gives kids and their families the down time they need. What I would advocate is sending kids to school on the federal holidays that most parents work (Columbus, Election, Veterans, MLK, Presidents); kids would still get classroom time for all subjects in addition to learning about the importance of these holidays. These are 5 days that would count towards the school calendar that might avoid us guessing whether we'll be making up weather-related closings later in the school year.
Lisa Buchman (Editor) January 11, 2013 at 01:00 PM
As you may have heard, the board voted last night to keep the vacation intact. We'll have an updated posted later this morning.
mark January 13, 2013 at 07:35 PM
if school is in session parents are wrong to take their kids out of school for a vacation. people are paying taxes for your kids schooling and we have the right to get what we pay for.

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