School District 27 trustees voted in favour of directing staff to examine calendars options and impacts for the 2020/2021 school year. Angie Mindus photo

School District 27 trustees voted in favour of directing staff to examine calendars options and impacts for the 2020/2021 school year. Angie Mindus photo

Not-in-session days to be reviewed by School District 27 trustees

School calendar’s fall and spring break eyed by board

Whether School District 27 continues to have a fall break or a two-week spring break will be the hot topic of conversation in the coming months.

At its regular, public meeting held Tuesday evening, the board of trustees voted in favour of directing staff to examine calendar options and impacts for the 2020/2021 school year.

“Hey, I like having the two-week break thing, it’s awesome, but I’m always very mindful … if I increase days out (of school), for good reasons or not, I will be increasing hardship for some of our community. So I have to be very mindful, am I doing that for the right reasons,” said Superintendent Chris van der Mark. “I’m always mindful of the impacts of any decisions we make on those who don’t have the greatest advocacy and who we can create hardship (for) and it behooves us to keep that in front of our decision making. That’s critical.”

It’s been 14 years since a previous board voted to add nine non-instructional days to the school district’s calendar as a cost-saving measure, said Dean Coder, SD 27 Director of Instruction.

Read More: SD27 awarded for innovative solar energy project at off the grid school

“Like many boards across the province, savings through modifying the school calendar were considered by deviating from the standard provincial spring break and other out-of-session days to reduce costs. Some calendars, such as the four-day week, an extended spring break, and a four-day fall break were examined,” said Coder, in a briefing note to trustees.

“The result was a four-day fall break and a two-week spring break— nine additional (out-of-session) days. The savings, at the time, was thought to be between $350,000 and $400,000, assuming appropriate reduction of work with buses not running, reduced clerical and custodial.”

Coder listed five points to consider moving forward with a decision; student learning, impact on families and community, instructional minutes minimums and maximums, fall break as mental health and recruitment and costs.

The board will look at all options before them, including the possibility of cancelling the existing fall break as well as making the spring break only one week.

“I’ve had some additional suggestions that we’ve heard around the table of maybe maintaining the fall break and having a one week spring break in its place,” Coder said.

“There is a whole group of possible ideas that are coming out of this conversation, but what we’re looking at right now is just to have the conversation. What is it we really want for our students? Do we still want that many out-of-session days?”

Coder said there are fewer students in the district now compared to 2005. He estimates it will cost the district roughly $100,000 to eliminate the fall break, and about $220,000 to operate for all nine of the not-in-session days added to the calendar in 2005.

Trustees asked Coder what consultation would look like, and he explained the district would survey staff and parents and compile the results.

“As a board you could look at all that feedback and … at what the board feels is best for students, and then draw a conclusion.”

Van der Mark pointed out he liked that Coder listed student learning at the top of the list of priorities while putting cost last.

“Let’s start and look at learning, let’s look at what it means to families across our communities. What are the options, what are the benefits?”

School District 27 is the only school district in the province that has a fall break.


Do you have a comment about this story? email:
editor@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cariboo Art Beat artists Tiffany Jorgensen, left, Brittany Murphy, with her daughter Ruby, 3, and Sarah Sigurdson have created a Santa painting for photo opportunities that will be placed outside their studio on Oliver Street below Caribou Ski. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake artists create Santa painting for Christmas photo ops

Cariboo Art Beat hopes it will fill a void caused by COVID-19 restrictions

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
47 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health region

1,538 total cases, 399 are active, ten in hospital

The Bella Coola area also received a large dump of snow as seen here Friday, Nov. 27, but by the afternoon it had started to rain there. (submitted photo)
Update: More than 900 Bella Coola customers without power, expected to last overnight

Highway 20 remains closed between Anahim Lake and Bella Coola Friday, Nov. 27

More than 60 cm of snow has fallen at Ulkatcho First Nation since a snowfall warning went into effect Thursday, Nov. 26. (Ruby Squinas photo)
VIDEO: More than 60 cm of snowfall in Chilcotin since Thursday, Nov. 26

Graham West of Ulkatcho First Nation captures the scene on video

Newly elected Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson participated in a virtual oath ceremony with the BC Liberal Caucus on Friday, Nov. 27. Here he poses for a photograph with Kate Ryan-Lloyd, clerk of the legislature. (Screen image taken of YouTube live stream)
Cariboo Chilcotin MLA participates in BC Liberal Caucus virtual oath ceremony

First-time MLA Lorne Doerkson will represent the region

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks along the seawall in North Vancouver Wednesday, November 25, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
911 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths as B.C. sees deadliest week since pandemic began

Hospitalizations reach more than 300 across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Gold medallists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, of Canada, pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel
Olympic champions Virtue, Moir and Tewksbury among 114 Order of Canada inductees

Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018

Shoppers line up in front of a shop on Montreal’s Saint-Catherine Street in search of Black Friday deals in Montreal, Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Black Friday shopping in a pandemic: COVID-19 closes some stores, sales move online

Eric Morris, head of retail at Google Canada, says e-commerce in Canada has doubled during the pandemic.

After twice have their wedding plans altered due to COVID-19 restrictions, Suzanne Schmidt and Andrew Sturgess got married in Bakerview Park last weekend, with the only guests being their two daughters, Zoey (foreground) and Tessa. (Darren Ripka photo)
From New Zealand to Bakerview Park, B.C. couple weds in ‘backyard’

Twice scaled-down wedding ‘proof that good things still happen during bad times’

Most Read