School District 71 will be sticking with a two-week spring break for the near future.
The district had been receiving feedback in recent weeks about its proposed three-year calendar. It has gone to a three-year calendar to set out days for professional development for staff as well as holiday periods such as spring break.
One of the main issues was whether people wanted to have a two-week stretch for families in the spring or only one week with the extra time being taken into account elsewhere when scheduling. The district calendar has been set up in recent years with a two-week break, as is the case for most districts in the province. The document also notes opening and closing days for the year, statutory holidays, winter breaks, parent-student-teacher conferences and administrative days.
At a special board meeting on April 6, assistant superintendent Geoff Manning outlined the responses the district received about the calendar. Over the consultation period, the district received 42 comments.
“Most of them were relevant to the calendar,” he said, adding they ranged from very favourable to some expressing slight concerns. “Overall, most people gave positive comments.”
Normally, the consultation period runs for 30 days, but this time it ran for slightly longer because of the timing of spring break.
Manning said typically for every response in favour of a one-week break, there were probably a couple in support of two weeks. Overall, he said it was clear the plan for the next three years is acceptable to the public.
“We didn’t get any big objections or any big concerns about the calendars,” he said.
Manning also said that if the district does need to make any adjustments to the calendar, such as having to change a professional development day, over the next three years, it can do so by posting the proposed changes for a 30-day period to take any comments from the public before formally passing a motion to make the change.
The board passed a motion at the meeting to accept the calendar, which can now be submitted formally to the Ministry of Education. There were no opposing votes.
The calendar will be re-posted on the school district homepage.
A draft of it had been presented to the board at the February meeting, along with one for distance learning. The latter is a 12-month calendar, with holidays for staff and students following the general district calendar, except for some non-instructional days.
A calendar committee, which included board, staff and parental representation, had set out to create calendars for the next three school years in order to create some consistency and facilitate some long-term planning. Manning’s staff report for that meeting noted the premise for the two-week break is that no employee group is to be advantaged or disadvantaged. It continues by saying that while provincially CUPE had been opposed to the two-week spring break, local members’ response in the past has been “overwhelmingly positive.”