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Academic Calendar 2016-2017 Marion, Mattapoisett and Rochester

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Academic calendar presented to Marion, Rochester School Committees

By Matthew Bernat | Mar 05, 2016

A draft of the academic calendar for the coming school year was presented to the Marion and Rochester School Committees, and it proposes not holding classes on Good Friday.

Marion School Committee members got a first look at the calendar at their March 2 meeting. Administrators presented the calendar to the Rochester School Committee March 3.

In addition to Good Friday, other changes included holding less half days for professional development and eliminating one half day in May when students take the PARCC assessment.

“I tried to get this in front of as many stakeholders as possible,” said Superintendent Doug White. “So everybody can have a feeling for the conversation.”

Last year marked the first time in a long while that classes were held on Good Friday. The decision sparked a petition that gained at least 700 signatures against the move.

This year, Good Friday falls on April 14 right before spring break. White said that was a major factor in not holding classes that day.

Christine Winters, a Marion School Committee member, approved.

“There seems to be a consensus that it’s not the best day for education,” Winters said.

Rochester School Committee Chair Tina Rood approved of the calendar as drafted, but said she’s not opposed to holding classes on Good Friday on principle.

“I still feel like school on Good Friday is OK,” Rood said. “I have not wavered from that.”

Rochester School Committee member Sharon Hartley approved of the calendar too, however, she expressed misgivings about half days.

“My biggest concern is half days because of the education piece,” Hartley said. “I think full days and full professional days help our staff greatly and our students greatly.”

Members on both boards learned that while the calendar will be voted on at a meeting of the Joint School Committee, each town retains autonomy when deciding what days to hold classes.

“It’s one of those gentlemen’s agreements that the Joint will take a vote on it,” White said.

That said, White noted there are financial considerations on having a uniform calendar for all three towns.

“Whenever you start to split, and you’re not on the same calendar, one of the things that jumps out is bussing,” he said.

The district’s contract with the bus company is for 180 days. Different calendars for different towns would increase the transportation budget, White said.

The Joint School Committee is expected to vote on the calendar at its March 24 meeting.

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This blog was posted on www.boldmovesrealestate.com on March 7, 2016.