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It's academic: New school calendar wins quick approval

Updated 5:53 pm, Tuesday, March 6, 2012
  • Westport Superintendent of Schools Elliott Landon, far right, and Board of Education members discuss the calendar for the 2013-14 academic year at Monday's meeting. Photo: Andrew Brophy / Westport News contributed
    Westport Superintendent of Schools Elliott Landon, far right, and Board of Education members discuss the calendar for the 2013-14 academic year at Monday's meeting. Photo: Andrew Brophy

 

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A year went by in a minute at Monday night's Board of Education meeting.

The school board, by unanimous vote, adopted a school calendar for the 2013-14 academic year after virtually no discussion. The calendar for that year is largely consistent with both the current school calendar and the one approved last year by the board for the 2012-13 school year, said Superintendent of Schools Elliott Landon. The session took place at Staples High School.

The first day of the new academic year in 2013 will be Aug. 27, a Tuesday, which will give students nearly a full week of classes (Tuesday through Friday) before they have the day off on Labor Day, Landon said. That differs from the current calendar, which gave students only two days of class before the Labor Day holiday, but it's in line with next school year's calendar, which gives students a full five-day week before Labor Day.

The calendar approved Monday allots 182 days for instruction, identical to the current calendar and the one approved for the 2012-13 school year. Teachers will be in school 188 days in the 2013-14 academic year, the same number of days as the current calendar and 2012-13 calendar, because of six staff development days.

Westport schools will be closed in 2013 on Sept. 5 in observance of the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah, which Landon said "is traditional for us." Westport schools next school year also are closed on Yom Kippur, the most holy day for Jews, but the Day of Atonement falls on a Saturday (Sept. 14) in the 2013-14 school year, compared to a Wednesday in the 2012-13 school year, so a day off from school isn't needed.

Westport schools also will be closed on the Christian holiday of Good Friday, which falls on April 18 in 2014, and the holiday recess in the 2013-14 school year will run from Dec. 23 through Jan. 1, according to the calendar adopted by the school board Monday night.

Landon said three snow days are built into the 2013-14 school calendar and the last day of schools, if no snow days are needed, will be June 16, 2014. "Hopefully, we won't have a snow day," he said.

School board member Mark Mathias quipped, "Whether we have a snow day or not is up to you." The month of March in 2014 is the only month when there is no scheduled day off, but Landon said March is "essential to be without a break" because that is the month when elementary and middle school students take the Connecticut Mastery Test and high school sophomores take the Connecticut Academic Performance Test.

Other holidays and breaks for students in the 2013-14 academic year include: Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 2); Columbus Day (Monday, Oct. 14); Thanksgiving recess (a shortened day on Wednesday, Nov. 27 and days off on the following Thursday and Friday); Jan. 20 (Martin Luther King Day); President's Day (Feb. 17, a Monday); winter recess (Feb. 18 through 21); spring recess (April 14, a Monday, through April 18, a Friday); and Memorial Day (May 26.) But students also will have Election Day (Nov. 5) off in 2013, as well as Jan. 17, 2014, and Feb. 24, 2014, because of staff development days. Teachers also will have three staff development days before the school year for students begins on Aug. 27, 2013.

Board of Education Chairman Donald O'Day asked for public comment before the board voted to adopt the 2013-14 school calendar, but none of the roughly eight people in the audience wanted to speak.

"I think there was broad support for it," O'Day said of the calendar.

Andrew Brophy is a freelance writer.