DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

November 29, 2012

Londonderry officials ponder school calendar

By Julie Huss
jhuss@derrynews.com

---- — LONDONDERRY — School officials are taking information from a recent survey and are considering whether to make changes to the school calendar.

School Board members are deciding what to do with survey results suggesting some families may like to see some changes in vacation times, days off and length of the school year.

Superintendent Nate Greenberg said while there was no big groundswell to see a longer year, there was some positive feedback about when to take school vacations.

One suggestion may give the school district one vacation in March, while doing away with the February and April time off.

“I think we’d be the only district in the state to have a March vacation,” Greenberg said.

Although some families thought that was a good idea, the majority of respondents like things the way they are now.

It all adds up to how to incorporate the most instructional time in the classroom.

Board member Steve Young questioned how the information on the surveys was tallied, and how valid some answers were.

He said there was so much school lost in November due to holidays.

“I would like to see a good solid month of education,” he said.

Greenberg said November is a “nasty” month with Veterans Day, elections and Thanksgiving. He said wouldn’t mind taking away some of those days off.

The state only mandates the district have Veterans Day and Memorial Day off, Greenberg said. Other holidays, including Columbus Day or Martin Luther King Jr. observances, could be negotiable.

Board member Nancy Hendricks said the district should also consider time away from the classroom for assemblies and trips the students take.

Making changes could impact the budgetary side of things, too, Greenberg said. Giving up certain days off would require teachers and staff be on board.

The state mandates students attend 180 days of school per year.

Considering any changes would take time and a lot more input, Greenberg said.

“We must look at this thing through multiple lenses as we approach it,” he said.

The board will schedule a community meeting in the future to get more information from families about what they might like to see in a calendar.

A public forum for teachers and administrators will also be held to get their views.

More specifics on the calendar will come later on after the budget season winds done, Greenberg said.