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VSB adopts local school calendar for 2010-11

Download the local school calendar for 2010-2011

Vancouver, B.C. - (April 26, 2010) -Vancouver School Board trustees voted tonight to adopt a local school calendar for the 2010-'11 school year that will cancel early dismissal days and extend the instructional day to allow schools to close 10 additional days next year.

"Trustees were reluctant to support this proposal, but given that we are already facing deep budget cuts across the board that will affect everything from special needs students, ESL students, inner-city students, and elimination of music programs, trustees supported an option they felt would less of a negative impact on the education of our students," said Board Chair Patti Bacchus.

The local school calendar will:

  • Establish consistent school start and end times
    A consistent school start time will assist all parents moving within the district or newly arriving into the district to have set school start and end times.  Schedules will not need to be changed as families move from school to school.  As well, TOCs and EOCs will be aware of the district schedule.  The variance of up to 40 minutes in our school start times has caused problems in assigning replacement staff to our schools as have the variable lunch times.

 

  • Eliminate the use of the early dismissal day
    The elimination of the early dismissal day will provide the additional minutes needed to establish a local school calendar and eliminate the need for parents to alter their own or their child's daycare schedules due to varied school ending times.

 

  • Provide for four four-day weekends throughout the school year
    Four day weekends throughout the school year at regular intervals will introduce a "wellness factor" to the district.  It is anticipated that this factor will increase student and staff productivity. 

 

  • Provide for a two week Spring Break
    The introduction of a two week break in late March will introduce a much needed "rest period' at a time of high stress, further contributing to the wellness of employees and students of the district.

 

Trustees stressed the decision to adopt the local school calendar was not done because of a clear educational benefit to students, but rather, the need to save money at a time when the district must address an $18.12-million deficit. It is expected the local school calendar will save the district at least $1.2 million per year.

In voting for a local school calendar, trustees asked that all aspects of the calendar be reviewed after one year prior to any decision being made about a local school calendar for 2011-'12. Trustees also asked the school district's calendar committee to review the possibility of introducing a balanced school calendar where the core focus is on the educational benefit to students.

Additionally, staff has been directed to work with partner organizations to provide support and programming for families for whom the additional days off may be a financial hardship.

It was noted the proposal had the support of the school district's employee groups because of the financial savings associated with the plan.

The motion passed with only Trustee Ken Denike opposed.

 

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