West Hartford Board of Education to Consider Calendar Options for 2020-2021 Academic Year

The West Hartford Board of Education reviewed a proposed calendar for the 2020-2021 school year last week, and will vote on three different options next month.

By Ronni Newton

The West Hartford Board of Education had its first look at the proposed calendar for 2020-2021 last week, and has asked Superintendent Tom Moore to include two additional options for consideration when the vote is held on March 19.

Along with the proposed calendar, the Board will consider moving April vacation to coincide with Good Friday in 2021, and will also consider starting school for that academic year on Sept. 2, 2020, rather than Aug. 26, 2020.

Calendars are traditionally adopted two years beyond the current academic year, Moore told the Board, to allow for teachers and families to have ample time to plan.

The proposed calendar complies with the CREC Uniform Regional Calendar recommendations – something that was a requirement for several years but is no longer mandatory, Moore said. The CREC calendar recommends that the school year begin on the last Wednesday of August, plus or minus three days. The recommended week of spring break is the second full week of April following a five-day week.

Moore noted that in developing the calendar, the administration has the goal of the earliest possible last day of school to allow for summer activities to begin on schedule in the event of snow days added to the end of the year.

Board member Mark Zydanowicz requested that the Board consider moving spring break from the proposed week of April 12-16 to the previous week in 2021. Good Friday, which is also a vacation day, is April 2, 2021, and the change would allow for that day to be combined with spring break for a longer vacation.

Board Vice Chair Deb Polun suggested a later start date for the 2020-2021 academic year because Labor Day is very late that year, falling on Sept. 7, 2020. If school begins on Aug. 26, which is the fourth Wednesday of the month, there would be a full week of school before Labor Day, she said.

Polun suggested Aug. 31 or Sept. 1 as a start date, but Moore said he prefers the first day of school to be on a Wednesday, so that teachers, who begin the academic year with convocation two days before the students arrive, can return to work on a Monday.

The proposed last day of school in 2021 is June 8, so starting school a week later should still provide for a last day – which would also be bumped to be a week later – to fall early enough to avoid impacting summer activities, Moore said.

The Board of Education will vote on the calendar at its March 19 meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. in the Legislative Chamber at West Hartford Town Hall.

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