Thursday, November 15, 2012

Dates for spring break

On another post Anonymous wrote:

New Post

The November agenda review materials include the school calendar for 2013-14. Spring Break is scheduled for April. Do we really need a spring break? If so does it have to be in April? Why can't it match the spring break for colleges? If it were necessary to burn off days for weather related emergencies how do you feel about giving up days of spring break as opposed to tacking on days to the end of the year? 


Anonymous said...


For years there was no Spring Break in the PPS. It's a VERY long slog through February, March, April and most of May (previously with three days off around the Easter weekend).

So really, you're only talking about 2 extra days. Often they've put in an extra day in May to take back in the case of three snow days.

The fall has a ton of days off -- hardly any full weeks. We have the opposite problem on the other end of the year.

In some parts of the country (Northeast), kids still get a week in February and a week at Easter.

Questioner said...

If break is the same week that colleges get off, or there is no spring break at all, it makes it very difficult for students to visit prospective colleges while the college is actually in session and they can sit in on classes, etc.

Anonymous said...

The schools in the Northeast that get a week in February and at Easter have school until late June and that becomes a waste in terms of education.

Not a good idea.

Anonymous said...

There isn't any set time for college spring breaks, either. Three kids I know well -- two of them will have one weekend overlap in spring break, but that's it!

Do some of the private schools still get two weeks off?

Anonymous said...

I went to school in the northeast, school was until June 22 and we worked normally until the last couple days of school.

Anonymous said...

Nope, they don't. They usually get out the same week PPS does. At times, they might have 1-2 more days.

Anonymous said...

Why are 2 or three days later in June more of a waste than those days before Labor Day here?

Questioner said...

But with no spring break there is no chance of catching any of the colleges in session the spring semester

Anonymous said...

The college visits concern does make spring break more reasonable.

I will ask a reliable kid later, but are visits to colleges on school days excused absences?

Questioner said...

Yes they are excused per a Cas facilitator.

Anonymous said...

The amount of spring break is up to the private school. My kids get a week off.

Anonymous said...

The waste of time is, in part, because of the PSSA testing schedule.

Anonymous said...

The actual length of time needed for a PSSA test is less than two days.

Routine teaching and learning must then proceed for all students, unless they were absent and have to take a make-up PSSA someplace other than the regular classroom.

Often PSSA is extended over several days so that kids take parts in short time periods to prevent being overwhelmed by too long a testing session. But, then they return to the regular class schedule for the rest of the day.

The PSSA only takes a few hours for each test (Math and Reading).

Writing and Science are even shorter, but taken on different dates.

Anonymous said...

Less than two days?!

There are three reading and three math sections. With "administration time" -- meaning getting everyone in the right room, on the right page, forms filled in correctly, (loooong) instructions read, questions answered, etc. -- each section takes between 60-80+ minutes.

Also as long as you note it, any student who hasn't finished is allowed more time on a section -- though it all has to be in that same sitting. So, if you started one session right after an earlier one, some kids would be unavailable for that next section, since they'd still be testing.

I can't imagine *any* school doing three sections of the test in a day. Most efficient (and if you don't have a lot of kids who need extra time) is to do a math and a reading each day, which still requires three days.

BUT, since the sections alternate and can't be done out of order, that would mean one type of test was always done in the morning and a different one in the afternoon.

Any teacher can tell you that kids pay attention and test better in the morning NOT after lunch! Now, when teachers' jobs may rest on scores, that would be not only unfair to the kids, but to the teachers as well!

Some schools end up doing one section per day in the morning and then running one or two academic classes and specials in the afternoon. BUT a teacher could be accused of cheating for going over or teaching anything that might be on the test (and they'll have seen it when they administer it) -- so they have to be careful about what they teach!

I'm sure though, if they were just more loving, caring and belief-filled, these logistical problems would disappear!

Anonymous said...

I know private and parochial schools are not required to take PSSA and Keystones. Charters are though, but how are the tests administered to cyber charter students? With all the security protocols I hope this is accomplished at a test site where the test is administered in the standard environmnet.

Anonymous said...

Charter schools are public schools and all public schools must take the PSSA and Keystones. Charter and Public schools are funded by the public (taxpayers).

Private and parochial are not funded by the public, therefore they do not come under public domain or regulations.

Anonymous said...

Pittsburgh parents and STUDENTS need to coalesce and require public sessions for an introduction and follow-up workshops on the new COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS.

How about city-wide sessions that break it down for students and parents so that they are not totally dependent on student-centered classes to bring students to a level of competence, mastery and/or proficiency?

Bring in some of the educators statewide who have created the online lessons at the PA Department of Education to educate the public, young and old, charters and public!

Anonymous said...

Time of school year is my point.