Stratford Parent: Move Winter Break or Shorten It

Stratford mom calls on Board of Education to move winter break to this week or shorten the February vacation scheduled for next week, as schools are closed for at least today and Tuesday following the weekend blizzard.

Arguing that Stratford students have already missed too much school this year, a Stratford parent is appealing to school officials to either move winter break to this week or shorten the scheduled break next week.

Sonya Huber, who has a third-grader in the Stratford public schools system, has created an online petition with the following description:

I would like to ask the Stratford Board of Education to be proactive and move winter break to this week or shorten next week's break. The kids have already missed so much school this year after all the weather-related events of the past year. It is a safe bet given the impact of this storm that the school buildings will have some serious impact, since each hurricane in the past 2 years closed schools in Stratford for a week solid. Meanwhile, winter break is scheduled for next week, which would in effect give students a solid two weeks out of school -- a waste of educational time and a huge impact of lost time for working families, many of whom are not being paid for this time off. Make the announcement early rather than day by day so people can make plans.

Stratford public school students are off today and Tuesday as the town continues its round-the-clock cleanup effort from the historic blizzard that hit the Northeast over the weekend.

Hurricane Sandy last October knocked out power to thousands of residents and caused schools to close for a week.

"I have heard that the Milford school system has already shortened its break by three days, and Stratford school system should make a similar early announcement," Huber wrote in an email to Stratford Patch.

School officials could not be reached for comment late Sunday.

Should winter break be moved to this week, or be shortened next week? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Karen E Daden February 12, 2013 at 06:33 PM
Right on Mark.
Karen February 12, 2013 at 08:14 PM
Trumbull just cancelled February break officially. Stratford should follow this step as well. The argument, that it is a long time from now until June without a break is ridiculous since the kids are already off now. And for those who are scheduled for a nice family vacation should continue with their plans and any children missing school should have there absences excused by their schools. As is, Stratford students attend school 183 days a year even though 180 is what is legally required by law. Those 3 days are made up for as well. Those days should be the first to go at the end of the year, Starting with the schedules last day of school and so on. Any need to make up more days should follow the same rule as they do now by adding to the end of the year, no more than 5 days or by removing all other single day holidays such as election day, veterans day, presidents day etc. I like to have a long weekend with my kids just as much as anyone else, but the thought of my children going to school until the end of June is just insane. All my children have asthma and would not be able to breath in the the temperatures those classrooms get to. As, is I have had to pick them up early or keep them home for that very reason. If I wanted my children to go to school year round I would move to North Carolina where they have counties that offer that.
Jane Doe February 12, 2013 at 08:33 PM
Yes, trumbull has cancelled February break, however, they are still receiving an April break, something that has already been taken from Stratford.
Jane Doe February 12, 2013 at 08:36 PM
The same is true for Milford.
KZ February 12, 2013 at 08:46 PM
I am curious as to how Trumbull and Milford can cancel their breaks when surely they have the same hurdles as Stratford? If they, in fact, have cancelled then maybe Stratford can find out how they managed it.....
Karen February 12, 2013 at 08:49 PM
Yes that is true, but they also took away single day holidays prior to avoid taking always vacation days. Something that Stratford should also do in the future. Also other towns build days into the calendar for this reason, so if they lose them they don't need to make them up by law. I use to live on Monroe when I went to high school and this was a common practice when scheduling the school calendar year.
Jane Doe February 12, 2013 at 08:57 PM
I agree that Stratford may need to look into how they schedule the calendar, however, at this point I think that it is a little late to look into canceling February break. If they would have started the year stating that days would come off February, as Milford did, it would be a different story. However, to cancel February break in addition to the already canceled April break, well... That's a long stretch of time for the children without them feeling over exerted.
Karen February 12, 2013 at 09:12 PM
But the kids are off right now, just days away from a scheduled break. How over exerted could they get??? As I said earlier, unless the BOE plans on asking the Governor to pardon these last few days, we will be in school until July. Have you ever sat in a classroom all day in June??? It's unbearable!!!
Karen February 12, 2013 at 09:15 PM
Just one more note...winter is not even over. Not to mention I can recall getting snow in April. With that said, when will it all end??? Adding days to the end if the year is not an "if all else" solution. Again getting a pardon is the right thing to do.
Jane Doe February 12, 2013 at 09:28 PM
I actually have. I teach. I agree that a pardon would be the way to go. You raise a good point regarding the snow. Even if we cancel vacation next week, there is a possibility of more snow on Sunday. If that led to more cancellations, where would we find room to make up the days then?
linda February 12, 2013 at 10:38 PM
It is time to cancel next week's winter break. Everyone is on break now!
Brian February 13, 2013 at 01:11 AM
Winter break should be eliminated as there have been far too many days off due to the weather already. For families that already have vacations booked they should still take their vacations as if they took a vacation in early June before school finished for the year.
Theresa February 13, 2013 at 01:49 AM
Harkins and BOE administrators are too afraid of the political backlash.
Theresa February 13, 2013 at 01:52 AM
When I was young, before the "February Break", lots of parents pulled their kids out of school to go on scheduled vacations. They did the same during the weeks PRIOR to the Spring break in April. It caused me a little jealousy, quite a lot of pouting, but I got over it. It helped me deal with the inequalities life has to offer in the "real" world.
Gavin Forrester February 13, 2013 at 01:52 AM
Beth a very good suggestion that will be discussed with the Board
Patty lariccia February 13, 2013 at 04:56 AM
Let the kids enjoy their break. Its not their fault we had bad weather this year. As a mom of five children of course they are driving me crazy at home', but i feel they are safer at home than in school especially 3 of mine take the bus. Where are they supposed to wait? in a 10 feet high pile of snow? the streets are terribleMy one child has to walk to school.I dont want him walking in the street to school. half of the sidewalks are not clean for him to use. Also im a school bus driver .I have never in 15 years drove in conditions like these ever. It is very dangerous out there to drive never mind taking full responsibility for children that aren't mine. The job is a big responsibility for a little bit of pay. Our job is a tough one and no one understands it. I love my job but i just think for the saftey of the kids and also my self that they should just make up the days when the weather is better in june.
PH February 13, 2013 at 01:36 PM
April break is 5 days long. Feb break only 4 days + President's Day. So if they took Feb break instead of April, we would right now only have 1 day left in June - rather than 2 days as we do now. Then if there was snow next week, we would be in worse shape. And to everyone who does not know how many school days are scheduled, the school calendar is posted on the stratfordk12.org website and states 182 student days.
Jack February 13, 2013 at 01:44 PM
Harkins has zero to do with moving the school vacations - All BOE and union
Jack February 13, 2013 at 09:26 PM
MWP - As a parent of a Bunnell student...please know the comments about cancellations and ideas of the sort - are made by a select few. The majority of parents ( myself included ) are clear that the recent events are the fault of nobody. That said, enjoy what is sure to be a two week vacation. With teh downside that your going to be in class until 6/30 with no other breaks. Personally, I think that is too long, but that is the hand we have been dealt.
MWP February 13, 2013 at 09:29 PM
The Petition is a joke and has fallen on deaf ears. I'm a student at Bunnell High School and I feel we as the children of this town should not have to shoulder a burden that was through no fault of our own. I do not agree whatsoever with this petition. Weather is no fault of our own and for you the people of this town to preside over this without taking us into consideration for those who agree with this ludicrious activity proves how little you know or care about the younger generation. You should all be ashamed of yourselves, for the ignorance you display when you talk about the times you went to school, those times are over the future is now. For all of those opposed I applaud you for understanding this generation and also recognizing us as humans because the rest of you just see us as people who should be seen and not heard. That's not the way we should be treated we have a right to be heard too. We also exist you know did all of you in agreement with the move or anything relating to canceling the break ever think that we have lives outside of the walls of those schools. Obviously you don't if you think we should go next week, it also proves you lost sight of what you once were, a youth.
MWP February 13, 2013 at 10:49 PM
Times up you lost now disband the petition.
Baffled Resident February 13, 2013 at 10:57 PM
"Parents with normal lives have been warning you". What are you warning Mr. Forrester and the BOE of? That you're entitled to babysitting service from taxpayers? Get over it and make the necessary arrangements for your children.
Diana February 14, 2013 at 12:00 AM
AGREED! it says right on the calendar that April vacation would be taken away after June 21 i dont see what the big deal is. What makes me frustrated with the inability to work as a group with the education of the children a priority. NOW there will be feb break cause of teacher unions and red tape issues. 2 weeks off in a row. Why not send them to school good friday? we aren't all christian.
Diana February 14, 2013 at 12:05 AM
good idea! I wonder if starting school a few days earlier in Aug would help. A lot of schools in other states do that. Then only have one break in march. It gives more time at the end of June to make up days.
JMK February 14, 2013 at 01:45 AM
The BOE should adjust the 2013-2014 schedule NOW. Maybe start school sooner in August if they want to keep the February and April breaks. Who knows what will happen next year. If there are no snow days/hurricane days then the children get out earlier in June.
Gavin Forrester February 14, 2013 at 02:35 PM
JMK The Board via our Chairman's committee started that conversation last evening and under consideration for 2013-14 is in fact starting school earlier in August and the possibility of eliminating the February & April break and combining into a one week break after CMT/CAPT testing in March. The Board will hold a public session sometime in April to discuss further as the graduation date for 2013 will be set that month as well as further discussions and planning for the next school year. I thank everyone for the suggestions and comments. Sincerely; Gavin B. Forrester III Chairman - Stratford Board of Education.
Jamie DeVitto February 14, 2013 at 03:15 PM
Everyone needs to relax! We cannot control mother nature and it just so happened that we got a blizzard the week before an already planned break! These things happen and we need to realize, sometimes, that's the way life goes! The Board will use this when planning next year's calendar and try to come up with a better plan. And what if something else historical happens?? Just go with it, and try to enjoy this time with your kids, if you are fortunate enough to be home with them. That's what life with kids is about!!
ln123 February 14, 2013 at 03:34 PM
Well said Jamie...Life is what happens while we are making plans!
CHOICES CONSEQUENCES February 21, 2013 at 09:03 PM
Mr. Forrester: Really think through making any changes to the current school calendar. The 87 comments above clearly demonstrate that no matter what changes are made, many parents and students will be dissatisfied, and the Board will be blamed for altering something that is actually more like a tradition than just a schedule. Despite the many thoughtful suggestions above, none are sufficiently compelling to justify messing with this particular tradition.
Concerned Person December 25, 2013 at 07:51 AM


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