Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Calendar

I have heard from many people about this year's calendar and not starting Winter Recess until after school on Friday, December 23.  The Calendar Policy and the School Board preference that holiday breaks on both traditional and year round calendars align dictate how the Calendar Committee designs each calendar.  The time to be watching out for Winter Recess is the October before (i.e. October 2011 for Winter Recess 2012-13).

Four JEA members serve on the Calendar Committee, which also has 10 parents, 4 administrators, and 3 classified members.  The JEA members on the committee are Bev Griffith - Literacy Specialist representing year round, Liz Taylor - Elk Meadows representing traditional elementary, Kathy Bekkemellom - South Hills representing middle school, and Jack Duffy - West Jordan High representing high school.  You can provide them with feedback, but they are only 4 of 21 votes on the committee.  Having attended a couple of meetings, I can tell you that what parents want is a key part.  I heard one parent say that traditional cannot start any earlier in August, because "August has the best boating weather". 

Scroll toward the bottom of the calendar page to see the calendars for the 2012-2013 school year.  The Calendar Committee recommended a traditional calendar with a 3-day Thanksgiving Recess for 2012-2013, which was approved.  The Board decided to try it and watch attendance data to see about changing the policy, which currently states that "Thanksgiving Recess shall be two (2) days, Thanksgiving Day (Thursday) and Friday."  This is the first experiment on not aligning a holiday break between traditional and year round.  The reason Winter Recess is so short this year has to do with Christmas falling on a Sunday and aligning the break between the calendars.  Due to restrictions on year round, it is sometimes difficult to find enough school days making Winter Recess as short as possible.

The School Board would need to change their preference on aligning holiday breaks in order for there to ever be a 2-week Winter Recess or a 1-week Spring Recess on traditional.  I know the week long Spring Recess was discussed for 2012-2013, but the majority of parents preferred their children be out of school as close to the beginning of June as possible.

If you are concerned about the Winter Recess, please contact the JEA members on the Calendar Committee about your desires.  You also need to watch for updates and School Board meeting minutes so you can have some influence on the 2013-2014 Winter Recess dates.  Tentative calendars are also on the calendar page at the very bottom.

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