Along with messing up much of the rest of the town, Superstorm Sandy messed up the New Canaan Public Schools calendar—leaving students out of school for six days.
The Board of Education is now considering how those days will be made up. School could just remain open longer in June—extending the last day of school from June 17 all the way to June 25—but the board appears to be reluctant to do that.
The board heard a report Monday from Superintendent Mary Kolek showing several options for making up the lost days. But no decision was made at Monday's Board of Education meeting. Instead the matter will be brought up again at the next meeting, on Dec. 3, giving a chance for parents to weigh in on their preferences.
In a memorandum to the board which Kolek said will be posted on the school district website, she described some of the "tools" the board has to adjust the calendar in ways that would avoid pushing the school year into the last full week of June (that is, Monday, June 24, and beyond):
- There are four designated days on the calendar to make up for snow days or shutdowns of the school district for any other reason—June 18 to 21 (Tuesday through Friday).
- The current calendar has Friday, Feb. 15 as a day off for students (a professional development day for teachers). Kolek said the schools could be open for half a day that day, still giving teachers some time for professional development. (The next full week is the winter break.)
- New Canaan Public Schools are scheduled to hold classes two more days than the 180 required by the state. Kolek said one or both could be eliminated from the calendar.
- Another option would be to remove April vacation (April 15 to 19) from the calendar.
Kolek recommended using Feb. 15 as a half day of school (the state no longer mandates a minimum number of hours in school) and dropping one of New Canaan's 182 days from the school year, along with using the four designated make-up days from June 18 to 21, making June 21 the last day of school.
When Kolek asked parents and educators in the school district what they thought should be done to make up for the six lost snow days, she said she didn't hear them voice a consensus preference. But they did ask that officials make a decision and let the public know early on so that plans could be made based on when teachers or students weren't in school.
Board Chairman Alison A. Bedula said support or opposition for any change in the school calendar "usually falls 50-50," but she and the rest of the board encouraged members of the public to contact them to suggest preferences. The public will also be allowed to speak at the next board meeting on Dec. 3, when the calendar is expected to be discussed by the board and perhaps approved.
"We hope to get more information between now and then," Bedula said.
The record for number of days cancelled in New Canaan is seven days, Kolek said.