by Tiffany Williams
Ellie Leonard is already planning to let her kids skip a few days of school next spring.
“My husband works for the railroad and being able to schedule a full vacation with him is important for our family because it allows us to have the extra time together, rest, and gives us time to visit family who live farther away,” she said. Her children will be in kindergarten, fourth, and sixth grades next year as students at Florence-Carlton.
The Leonards aren’t the only ones making adjustments after the Florence-Carlton Board of Trustees approved a calendar that does not include a weeklong Spring Break for the 2022-2023 school year. Instead, it will have a fractured Spring Break, with days off March 16 and 17 (a Thursday and Friday) and April 7, 10, and 11, (a Friday, Monday, and Tuesday surrounding Easter weekend).
In a grand reversal, Stevensville School Board of Trustees approved a school calendar that does include a weeklong Spring Break for the first time in many years. In the past, the Stevensville school calendar has looked like what Florence approved for the next school year, with several days off here and there throughout spring.
Next school year, Stevensville’s Spring Break will be March 27-31.
Stevensville’s school calendar is decided upon by a calendar committee, made up of teachers, administrators, staff, and parents. Cathi Cook, Stevensville Board of Trustees Chair, said she volunteered as a parent representative on the calendar committee, so she knows how challenging it can be to make decisions about the school calendar.
“You have to consider all the different functions: sports, 4H, clubs, and everything it affects,” she said. “It’s quite a process and no one is ever 100 percent happy.”
In Florence, parents do not serve on the calendar committee unless they are employed by the school.
Florence-Carlton Board of Trustees Chair Bobbi Ketelhut said some parents who work said they find it easier to find childcare for a Friday or a Monday rather than finding childcare for an entire week of Spring Break. She said many of the middle and high school staff prefer not to lose a full week with students at the beginning of spring activities. The Board asked teachers and staff to take a poll and the option without a weeklong Spring Break won.
“We will see how it goes this year and get feedback either way,” Ketelhut said.
As for Leonard, she said, “I hope Florence School will reconsider giving kids a nice vacation with their families, whether at home or on the road, and also consider the scheduling hardships for working parents around long weekends. Kids need a break, teachers need a break, and parents need a break.”