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District surveys Nelson parents on school calendar

Staff and parents have differing opinions about when March break should be held next year. Both groups were recently surveyed...
Kootenay Lake School District recently surveyed parents and staff about when they would like to see next school year's March break.

Staff and parents have differing opinions about when March break should be held next year.

Both groups were recently surveyed about when they would like to see spring break and closure weeks held in the Kootenay Lake School District during the 2014/2015 school year.

Results found 45.4 per cent of staff responding preferred spring break to run from March 16 to 20 and closure week from March 23 to 27. Second choice aligned break with Easter weekend with 33.2 per cent of staff preferring the March 23 to April 3 option. Holding the break earlier in March starting the 9th appealed to 21.4 per cent of respondents.

On the other hand 47.4 per cent of responding parents preferred the two-week break be aligned with Easter weekend. Parents’ second choice was the middle two weeks running from March 16 to 27 with 29.7 per cent selecting that option. An earlier March break still came in last choice with parents.

The school board discussed the matter at their regular board meeting held February 4. At the time of discussion, 196 staff answered the survey and 580 parents responded.

In addition to the numbers, of interest were comments made by all.

“There were many comments that made sense that have to be considered,” said superintendent Jeff Jones.

Aligning the break with other districts was preferred to schedule holidays for staff with children attending school in other districts and coordinate athletic events.

“… spring sports can lose two valuable weeks to an already short season if there is a later spring break/closure,” said one staff respondent.

Concerns for academics as well as attendance and continuity were expressed.

“January, February and March are such important months to actually get a lot of teaching in so as late as possible is best for me and my students,” said one teacher responding. “Their interest starts to wane come spring.”

Many parents commented that they would prefer the break to happen later in the month when the chance of nice weather is greater.

“It would be nice to have spring break when the kids can be outside enjoying the sunny weather,” said one parent.

Overall, many who responded to the survey were pleased with the process that asked their opinion.

Should the district chose to have March break aligned with Easter weekend, an additional day off school will be available somewhere in the calendar in lieu of Good Friday which falls on April 3.

The district will decide on a school calendar for the 2014/2015 school year at their next regular board meeting held in Kaslo on March 4.