Tele-Talk response: Do you agree with creating just one winter/spring school vacation in March?

There were 43 responses to this week’s Tele-Talk question: “Do you agree with creating just one winter/spring school vacation in March?” Twenty-six peopl said they do not agree with creating just one winter/spring vacation; 13 people said they like the idea; four people offered other comments. A selection of the responses is reprinted here.

No, the kids, staff and buildings need a break. Stop cramming everything in to get out earlier in June. Why didn’t they air-condition the high school when they built it and the middle school and they remodeled? If it’s that bad in the classrooms mid-June, the teachers union would’ve been more willing to start the end of August, but they weren’t so it can’t be that bad. Use fans. Blizzard bags are blatant insult to the staff about the learning that happens on a typical school day. Cram it all into one little exercise? I don’t think so. Kids lose a lot of ground over the summer. Bartlett was right not to buy into this sham.

I do agree with creating a winter/spring vacation week in March. Coincide it with the spring break of UNH in Plymouth and Keene. My parents used to live in Pennsylvania; the school district where they live there did that, and it coincided with the Penn State System and everybody enjoyed it. And teachers will still get the the week back because they’ll get out a week earlier in June so they won’t lose a week of vacation. It’s a good idea.

First of all, why don’t we start school before Labor Day just by a few days like other parts of the state do? That will alleviate part of the problem. And you sure can eliminate one of the vacation weeks. However, I would suggest you keep February vacation as it stands because we are tourist industry-based area, and we have a lot of high school kids that help in the workforce. And you have seniors in high school that count on that money to go off to college with because not everybody comes with a silver spoon in their mouth. So, if you’re going to eliminate a vacation, it would be April. You don’t do a vacation in March; that makes absolutely no sense. I don’t understand the thinking sometimes at all, not one bit.

I think that we should do away with all the vacations and have the kids go to school six days a week and then they could get out May 1. It will save us a lot of money and then give the teachers a longer vacation, which they really need after working seven months a year making $80,000.

No, I strongly disagree with creating just a winter vacation in March. It’s stupid. We’ve gone over and over this over the years. Kids have to go to school 180 days. If they have to go to school later in June, they go to school later in June. If you want to get rid of April vacation, that’s fine. But February vacation is crucial for businesses in this valley that need labor.

This is Jim from Glen. The answer to your question is no. But let me pose this question: What are we teaching or not teaching by eliminating the Easter break?

I think that the school vacation in February should continue. A lot of children depend on that to make money during that week, either at the ski areas or in the resorts, and I think that would be a financial hardship for them if they didn’t have that week to earn money. And as far as the air conditioning goes, I don’t think the children the marshmallows. I lived in the Deep South without air conditioning. And I survived and I think they can, too. It might be great for the teachers these ideas, but I don’t see where it’s much of a benefit to the students.

I absolutely agree with eliminating February and April vacation weeks. It’s a no-brainer. Have one in March. Just like all the other schools do down in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York. I think it’s a great idea, but I doubt it will ever happen because we don’t change anything around here.

My name is Sharon, and I live in Conway. No, I think the whole thing is ridiculous because in March, April, we’re getting snowstorms. So, it would seem to me that if you tacked on at the end of the year five extra days, and if they’re not used for snow days, then the kids get out five days early. If they use them, then they get out on a regular date. It seems to me the school board has absolutely no common sense whatsoever.

God forbid the board do something different and be an actual leader instead of a follower. Take the lead, board, and institute a March vacation week. Don’t be so afraid of implementing something hardly any other school does. Start up change and have schools follow our idea. Let’s show everyone that we are not afraid to be daring. I guarantee you once we change to one March vacation, other schools will do the same. It’s the one and only least invasive solution to the snow day problem, but I’m sure the board will keep beating the other dead horse ideas to death before they ever listen to common sense. I have spoken to about 50 people on this, and 49 supported a March vacation or as the school board will look at it, the one person is right and the 49 others are wrong. Mark my words, that’s the way it will go down, because that would be just too much of a radical idea. Simply incredible.

If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. This is just another one of Hounsell’s instinctive and attention-grabbing suggestions backed up with absolutely nothing. Check out what Exeter, Portsmouth, and Hanover are doing. Conway Village.

I love the idea of one week in March.

No thank you.

Yes, please, one vacation.

Let’s ask the union how they feel about this.

I’m curious what the percentage was for blizzard bags in Conway for the first day?

I think cutting out one vacation would be OK and just have a spring vacation at the end of March.

Lakes Region’s district is having later school days to make up for it. Adding an hour or two to the school day until June makes more sense than taking away vacation time.

Yes, I think they should only make one school vacation. It’s ridiculous that they have three on top of summer break. They are in school to learn. By giving them vacations, all it allows them to do is sit in front of the TV or computer all day.

Sounds like they quit before really giving blizzard bags a chance. It’s a great concept. There’s more learning happening in a blizzard bag than an arbitrary day added on in June.

Bartlett doesn’t do blizzard bags and just goes a few days more in June. No big deal. It is not that hot in June. Why all the drama?

I say get rid of February and April vacation. Too many days off from January to June. April vacation was for back in the days when there was no pavements. Plus it releases the pressure of cramming everything into the last part of the school year.

So, what’s a disaster? The Conway Daily Sun reported that surveys were taken from parents and students regarding the blizzard bag day but the only result was it was a disaster. So, what quantifies a disaster? The school board and school system spent some time putting the program together and after just one try, it is scrapped. How can just one try and a limited survey, where results have not yet been made public constitute a disaster? No, the vacations should not be changed until thorough research and input from the school board and the people who elect them has been given due diligence.

As a parent with four children in SAU 9 both in elementary and high school, I must say the blizzard bags were a joke. Totally not even organized at all, and our students missed it by less than what, 2 percent? And the ones that did do it now have to suffer by the threat of having vacation(s) taken away? Give me a break! How does one extra school day equate to losing two weeks of vacation?

Absolutely not! I don’t know who came up with this vacation schedule but having taught for the past 28 years, I can assure you that this schedule is perfect. Now, I know that most people will react with why do these teachers need all of these vacations? If you are one who questions this, come on in. Do this job for seven hours a day. Trust me, you’ll be singing a different tune.

I think it may be a good idea: I know my kids are dragging come June. They should survey the parents and teachers though. This isn’t something only a few school board members should just decide for us.

Maybe the area should concentrate more on the quality of education it provides before it tacks on more time for these kids to spend becoming unprepared for the rest of the world?

I thought the blizzard bags were great, I don’t know what the problem was. Heard it was a lot of work for some people. Maybe resurrect it and continue it?

Maybe the kids should start earlier, like the end of August, along with the southern New Hampshire kids. That’s your extra week right there!

Sounds like a great idea. Agreeing that kids/teachers/parents need time off, but looking at and comparing to a typical school year, they spend about 12 weeks in class until Thanksgiving, then about four weeks until Christmas, about 11 weeks until a “mid-March vacation” then about 12 weeks until they go off for the summer. Not including any days like Labor Day, half-days for teacher workshops, etc., they make the “12-week stretch” once during the year already. And there’s plenty of days off in between. Certainly something to consider!

Time for New England school districts to get with the rest of the country, where most districts only have a single vacation week after the first of the year, typically the week before or after Easter.

I have two children in SAU 9, and we all thought blizzard bags were wonderful. And we support February and April vacations. The kids need it!

March vacation when our kids might get a chance to enjoy the valley without 3/4 of Massachusetts crowding them out sounds great. And build in seven snow days instead.

As a mother of four as well as a daycare owner, I strongly feel that vacation times are important for children as well as teachers. I completely disagree with the thought of taking away February and April vacations. I personally feel that blizzard bags are a wonderful. I would support this fully in my school.

I work in two schools and am a mother to two kids. From my experience the vacation time is necessary not only for the kids to recharge but for the adults to recharge. With the cold, snow, cabin fever, etc., it is necessary to have some unstructured time after weeks of structure — some down time, if you will.