Remember the 5-day school week?

The Martin Luther King memorial at BU's Marsh Chapel consists of many metal cranes taking flight. (BU PHOTO)

The Martin Luther King memorial at BU's Marsh Chapel consists of many metal cranes taking flight. Any BU grad can tell you several legends associated with this statue. (BU PHOTO)

I sit here with a bit of writing to do and my ear cocked for a whole lot of distraction, which is scheduled to come through the door in a little under an hour.

It’s early dismissal today, and no school on Monday, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. And, in honor of MLK, a fellow BU graduate (the crane statue at left is on the plaza at Marsh Chapel in his memory), I have a dream.

I have a dream that someday, my children will have a full week of school again.

Mother Nature and the school calendar have conspired to create a situation where the kids have not had five full days in a row since the week of Nov. 3. That was Election Week, you may recall.

Nov. 11, Veteran’s Day. Nov. 17, no school (student-teacher conferences). Nov. 26, half day to kick off Thanksgiving break (Nov. 27-28). Dec. 5, no school for teacher conferences. Dec. 12, ice storm closes school (and kills off power for a good chunk of Central Mass.). Dec. 19, snow day.  Dec. 24-Jan. 4, Christmas break.  Jan. 5, 2-hour delay due to ice.  Jan. 7, snow day.

Weather permitting, their first full week of school since before Thanksgiving will be the week of Jan. 26, with an additional two full weeks in February before February vacation hits.

Ugh. Having a parent home full time (even if it is against her will) has definitely been a bonus this winter!

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13 thoughts on “Remember the 5-day school week?

  1. My kid is only three, and I’m already dreading the school-age years to come… It’s almost as if the schools don’t realize that… guess what… moms WORK these days! The whole school year calendar seems to be structured for bygone days. Don’t even get me started on those useless February and April school vacation weeks… why these haven’t been combined into a single March “spring break” week, I’ll never understand.

  2. I’ve always been told February vacation came around because of the energy crisis. Forever and a day ago, when I was covering Marlborough for a daily that no longer exists, Assabet Valley was experimenting with a four-day school week to cut down on heating costs. It must not have been cost-effective because I don’t believe they’re doing it anymore.

    Don’t get me started on schools and working moms. I will bend your ear.

  3. My 3rd grader (Who has been out sick all week) was probably well enough to go back to school today but, with it being a half day, I figured why chance it, and kept him home again.

    I commented yesterday how he was upset that he missed the Thanksgiving events at school…so the first thing I did when I got home was take him to Greater Grafton. He read your post (And really appreciated my comments) but especially liked the pictures. There were some of his classmates on the internet…it was real cool.

    He wanted me to be sure that I thanked you for him. So Jenn…Dylan says “Thank You” you made his day.

  4. Anyone been following the story in the T&G about how Gardner voted to use Feb vacation to make up all their snow days? Some of those against the idea made the point that maybe it should be April vacation instead of February since February vacation is more likely to have even more snow days! Wonder how that idea would fly around here!

  5. I’d bet April wouldn’t fly to cover snow days for a simple reason: tons of families tend to plan their trips for the April week and likely already have them booked. There’d probably be a high absentee rate. February vacation, meanwhile, doesn’t get a whole lot of love.

    We took the kids to Disney year before last for April vacay and almost everyone we met was wearing a Red Sox hat and from Massachusetts!

  6. My sister is a teacher in Fitchburg. They, too, were out for more than a week due to the ice situation. No word on whether they’ll make it up over Feb vacation. She’s hoping that’s not the case because she has already booked a trip to the Bahamas. Wonder what the union would do then?

  7. I’m half-remembering that Bellingham canceled April vacation after the Blizzard of ’78, but since I was only 10 at the time, I don’t remember how it was handled!

  8. You can have February vacation – between snow days and one-day holidays, it’s unnecessary. I can’t tell you how much easier it would make my summer having that week of vacation available.

  9. Maybe the school committee can bring it up. I’d love to take a pass on Feb vacation. I agree, it is unnecessary. But i’m sure it would be an issue with the teachers’ union.

    I just hate having the kids get out so close to July. It’s silly!

  10. I thought the year they got out on June 13 was worse. Two working parents, camp not open until the last week of school and, of course, that was a year when school started after Labor Day so it was a loooong summer.

  11. I, for one, would rather get out earlier and start before Labor Day. That is my vote in the unofficial poll. By late May-early June the kids have checked out and we have begun the end of school events such as field days, concerts, parties etc. The older grades have exams but even so, interest wanes, temperatures rise and minds wander. By late August, the mood seems to switch to back to school anyway. Just my opinion. School committee–are you listening? 🙂

  12. As a teacher, I always liked Feb break. By Feb, 30% of the kids are out sick, 30% are sneezing on you, and the rest are skipping your class. Feb break offers a nice stop-gap so that everybody can go home and get sanitized for a couple days, then return and gear up to try to actually get something done in March. That all said… as a parent, I would get rid of it in a heart beat!

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