The Fraser Cascade school board has voted to retain the current school calendar, following a community-wide consultation that showed strong support for the status quo.
The board opened up discussion on potentially changing the school year calendar after the provincial government announced it will now be up to each school board to determine their local school calendar structure. The board received comments online, through phone calls, and from several well-attended open forums held around the school district. The board also held an evening presentation for the district’s parent advisory council.
One of the options was to adopt a balanced calendar, which sees students attending school for three months at a time, with one month breaks in between. Only 15 per cent of respondents supported the balanced calendar, while 77 per cent supported maintaining status quo (two week spring break).
A third option was to increase the length of winter break, and come back a week earlier at the end of the summer. Only 8 per cent of people who connected with the school board chose that as the best option.
Dr. Karen Nelson, superintendent of schools, presented the results of the consultation process at a February board meeting. Problems with the balanced calendar included the interruption to summer job potential for students, and the lack of students to hire for small businesses. Others worried that the one-month breaks would be too long for students who may “fall through the cracks.” Others worried it would cause undue hardship for EAs and support staff who would find themselves unemployed for those month-long breaks.
Comments in support of the status quo included easy coordination with family in other school districts familiarity.
The next year’s school calendar will be available online in the near future.