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North Branford Mom Starts Petition to Shorten Future February Breaks

After experiencing many snow days – and hurricane days – Elizabeth Hoskins began a petition to have shorter February breaks in the future.

 

Over the past few years, it's been no secret that it's been a challenge to make up school days lost due to snow and hurricanes. This year, the last day of school is pushed back to June 25.

Between Hurricane Sandy and the Blizzard of 2013, students in North Branford schools have lost two days of their April vacation – April 18 and 19 – in addition to the district changing March 28 to a regular school day – it was supposed to be a professional development day. 

With the recent blizzard, North Branford schools closed from Feb. 8 to Feb. 12 – three days off – before returning on Feb. 13 to be in session for three days before having this week off for February vacation.

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Elizabeth Hoskins, a North Branford mother of two, is hoping to see some changes to the North Branford Public Schools calendar in the future. She has started a petition to present to the North Branford Board of Education. The petition reads:

We, the undersigned, would like to see the North Branford Public School system change the week-long February vacation to a 4 day weekend, effective for the 2013-2014 school year.

"The reality is that over a three-month period – the end of November through the end of February – our kids will be on vacation for four weeks," said Hoskins, referring to Thanksgiving break, winter break and February break. "Add snow days and we're adding at least another week – that's five weeks off over a 12-week period."

The Board of Education has already proposed its calendar for the 2013-14 school year, though it is not officially finalized until June. Right now, North Branford students are slated to return to school on Aug. 29 and get out on June 16 with the following vacations:

  • Wednesday, Nov. 27 (1/2 day) to Friday, Nov. 29 
  • Monday, Dec. 23 to Wednesday, Jan. 1
  • Monday, Feb. 17 to Friday, Feb. 21
  • Monday, April 14 to Friday, April 18

The 2013-14 calendar also stipulates that "days beyond seven snow days (June 25, 2014) will be taken from the beginning of Spring Recess (4-14 to 4-18). 

"If you would like to see the February vacation changed to a four-day weekend, please sign this petition," said Hoskins.

Kris Smith February 19, 2013 at 11:32 AM
My kids have graduated, but back when they were in school...the kids got Friday, Sat, Sun, Mon for Presidents Weekend and that worked out very well. It just makes more sense.
Janice Despotakis February 19, 2013 at 01:42 PM
I am not sure I would shorten February break - April could be better. I was talking to someone about this and they pointed out that snow storms in February are more likely - if you shorten the break, you might end up with a snow day that would need to be made up. Doing Friday and Monday for April break could make more sense with better weather conditions.
Liz February 19, 2013 at 02:12 PM
When my daughter started kindergarten at Stanley T in 2009 there was no February vacation on the schedule at all. At the time being new to the school system I was told that they hardly get the February break. Since then that was the only year they didnt get one.
Lori F. February 21, 2013 at 12:07 PM
I have to agree with Ms. Smith. We moved here in 2000 and we had a short February break all the time. Then I think it went one year we had a whole week off and then the next year it would be a shorter break. It did that for a while, then it went to always having the week off. Something else I have noticed. We never cancelled school as much for snow as we do now. We would get out early or go in late. My husband and I say it all the time that we can't believe how much they cancel for snow when it hasn't even started. I also don't understand why they are taking from the end of spring break instead of the begining. People are going to go on vacation whether we have school or not. I talk with friends in other towns and even in other states and we all can't understand why they get a whole week off for February break. I think most parents would prefer that the kids didn't have a whole week off in February. We also show our age wondering why kids don't go to school on election day. We always had it off. lol
Lori F. February 21, 2013 at 12:09 PM
Let me correct the last statement, we never had school off for election day. lol
James Krupp February 21, 2013 at 03:34 PM
Either remove February vacation or better yet, use February vacation as the first option for make up days. If we have four or less snow days before the February vacation begins then the kids will have Monday off for President's Day and go back to school on Tuesday. Any days over the four can then be added to the end of the year. Keep April vacation and end of the year as early as possible when the weather is better. The kids just had off Christmas break so February vacation is not as needed as April in my opinion.
Theresa February 21, 2013 at 04:59 PM
I agree February vacation should be eliminated. With all the days off the kids have had this year, and taking away March 28 and two days of April vacation so far, March through the end of the year will be a very long stretch! The Board has approved the calendar for next year, so it may be a challenge to get them to change it. The more people who step up and voice their opinion the better.
Jenn McCulloch March 01, 2013 at 07:45 PM
Here's a comment from Charlene Ramsey via Facebook (facebook.com/northbranfordpatch): "Food for thought regarding how "weather" missed school days are made up---GREAT emphasis and importance is placed on CMT's and CAPT Tests (graduation requirement for NBHS). Now I cannot remember when the CMT's are given but the CAPT are in MARCH. Missed days of LEARNING before MARCH are NOT helpful to those students when you make the time up during APRIL, the end of JUNE or by taking back a day in March. I wonder how all those missed learning/teaching days impact those test scores. As a parent this concerns me."
Denise George March 02, 2013 at 02:15 AM
CMTs and CAPT happen very close together. I agree that February vacation takes away from learning time. I also agree that the kids don't need February vacation. They've just come back from Christmas vacation and let's face it in February they can't go outside and play like they can in April which means that the parents then have to pay for indoor activities or for FRC coverage (if your kids are enrolled). Who has the money for that so soon after the Holidays. Now they're missing out on outdoor time during a Month (April) when Spring Fever is in full swing! I know that I'm definately signing the petition. Thanks Elizabeth Hoskins for getting this going!
Michele Czarnecki March 14, 2013 at 05:17 PM
Knowng how things work with the North Branford Public School System I am not too sure that they will listen to the parents on this matter but definitely signing. Maybe in fact they will take the children's learing more serious then having an unnecessay vacation and time off of school. Thank you for getting this started. I hope it works for the benefit of the children.

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