Atkinson Town Hall

Atkinson Town Hall
The Norman Rockwellian picture of Atkinson

There is a NEW POLL at Right--------------------->

Don't forget to VOTE!
Make your voice heard!

Welcome Message and Mission Statement

Welcome to the NEW Atkinson Reporter! Under new management, with new resolve.

The purpose of this Blog is to pick up where the Atkinson Reporter has left off. "The King is dead, Long live the King!" This Blog is a forum for the discussion of predominantly Atkinson; Officials, People, Ideas, and Events. You may give opinion, fact, or evaluation, but ad hominem personal attacks will not be tolerated, or published. The conversation begun on the Atkinson Reporter MUST be continued!

This Blog will not fall to outside hacks from anyone, especially insecure public officials afraid of their constituents criticism.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Timberlane eliminates February vacation

From the Eagle Tribune;

Timberlane eliminates February vacation
By Margo Sullivan

PLAISTOW — Next year's school calendar will shorten the February break for Timberlane Regional School District students — and some parents aren't happy about it.

In fact, the weeklong vacation at the end of February is gone, thanks to a vote by the School Board April 2.

Laurie Herchenrode of Plaistow, a mother of three schoolchildren, said students, teachers and parents all need a break at the end of February. She watched the televised School Board meeting and saw the decision as an "overreaction to the ice storm," which caused schools to close for six days in December.

February vacation has long been a target of some educators. They view the midwinter week as a disruption because it comes too soon after the long holiday break in December and January.

But Herchenrode said the half-days, which are still on the new calendar, are more disruptive than the weeklong vacation.

Another parent, Tammy Valhouli of Plaistow, said the argument about continuity doesn't make sense.

"If that's the case, why would they then put in two makeup days in the middle of February and a professional development day?" she said. "There's still a continuity issue."

Valhouli also said she's most upset by the fact the district asked parents to take a survey about potential changes to the calendar. According to the meeting broadcast, the survey results showed the majority of respondents opposed any change. But the School Board then apparently ignored the survey and voted to change the calendar anyway.

Assistant School Superintendent Winfried Feneberg said the ice storm definitely triggered the change. He said he didn't have the survey results and referred questions to Charles Coker, director of secondary education. Coker was unavailable yesterday.

"The educational reason was really for consistency of instruction," Feneberg said. "But it had a lot to do with the ice storm in that the amount of snow days to be tacked on at the end of the school calendar really meant shifting instructional days to the end of the year."

Feneberg said that could mean the first semester would end up being shorter than the second semester, so the School Board asked the administration for different options.

Under the new calendar, Feb. 11, and Feb. 16, are designated as snow makeup days, meaning they could end up as vacation days, if the schools don't need to compensate for time lost to bad weather. Feb. 11 is a Thursday. Feb. 15 is a Monday, Presidents Day, so it's possible students could get a four-day weekend if Feb. 16 isn't needed as a snow makeup day.

The calendar also calls for a professional development day on Feb. 12, meaning the students will not be in school that day either.

In a worst-case scenario, the students might only enjoy a long holiday weekend over Presidents Day.

School Superintendent Richard La Salle said the School Board could defer the change for another year, if it saw the departure from tradition as too drastic.

Students are "taken aback" by the change, according to Joseph Delfino, the School Board's student representative. He urged the School Board to postpone the new calendar, at least until the 2010-2011 school year. Delfino said he thought students needed a break at the end of the winter and cited illness as one issue.

But School Board member William Baldwin said he heard students preferred to get out of school earlier in June.

Ultimately, the School Board voted, 5-4, to eliminate the week off at the end of February and move the April vacation to the week of April 5. This year, April vacation falls the last week of the month.

Over the past years, several districts have considered the change. But no other local districts have made the move. Sanborn Regional School District, Derry, Hampstead, Londonderry, Salem, Pelham and Windham have all approved 2009-2010 calendars with the traditional February and April vacations.

First two comments on Eagle Trib, Blog!
PeterB 55 minutes ago
Since Timberlane is the only local school district opting for this schedule, does this mean that our kids who attend Voc Tech classes at Salem High will have no spring vacation at all? I failed to hear a discussion of this at the April 2 Board meeting. If so, this does not seem to be very even-handed across the student base.

And why is the only option to postpone the change one year? Why can't the board just reconsider and change to some other schedule, or leave the present "good enough" schedule alone?!?! All too often people fall into the trap of thinking they have to "do something" to fix a one-time issue, and it seems our board fell into the trap this time. Often times no-change is the best change.

BTW: The parents were against this change according to the survey, what about the teachers?? They were polled as well I understand, and were against this change 60% to 40% or more?!?!
o Like
o Report
o Reply
o More ▼
Login or Facebook Connect Connect (optional)

Please log in to Disqus or connect with Facebook to comment on The Eagle-Tribune.
bookworm6 Today 06:27 AM
Another example of the School Board blindly following LaSalle. He has his own agenda. Obviously the school board doesn't care what the parents think because they disregarded the survey. The school board is a position driven by power and not intelligence.


Anonymous said...

Why do kids need Christmas/New Years's vacation, February vacation, then April vacation?? I don't see any problem eliminating February vacation. My sister teaches in Mass., and I am astounded at the time off she gets.

Anonymous said...

So let's see.

At Christmas, the kids (and teachers) have two weeks off. And in two months, life in school is so stressful they feel everyone needs another week? And then another week in April?

Cut out the vacation and give us more summer!

Anonymous said...

I agree...I think the kids would rather get out of school in early June rather than later June when it is hot and uncomfortable.

Anonymous said...

It is not the kids that need it but the teachers unions! They have negotiated this over many years and many contracts.

Anonymous said...

How about actually teaching the kids for all of that time! No watching movies. No lack of homework. No lack of homework because it is Friday. No "you did your best, Jimmy"

Fishgutz said...

I was surprised to find the kids don't have a Feb Vaca down here in NC.
But it is becoming the norm in more places.
Personally, I hated Feb Vaca. Too cold to do anything outside. No Cable TV yet. No PS3s or XBOX360's back in the stone ages.

Anonymous said...

A million years ago, when I was in school in Connecticut, we never had a February vacation. All we had was Washington's Birthday which, because I know some of you have forgotten, is February 22. I don't care what day they celebrate President's Day. Washington was 2/22, Lincoln was 2/12.

By the way, we were always out by mid June at the latest.

Anonymous said...

Let's see - a week off in February vs a week off in June?

I vote June.

No brainer of the century.

Anonymous said...

I'm a student, and honestly I am against two vacations. I think that getting out a week earlier in summer would be so much better than having a week off in winter.