Natrona County students enjoyed eight-day winter breaks in each of the past two years, a few days shorter than in previous years. Next year, area students can look forward to 10 weekdays off.
Officials make minor adjustments each year depending on what days of the week holidays fall and when officials schedule professional development days, according to Mike Bond, the NCSD executive director of continuous systemic improvement.
That’s the reason for a slightly longer winter break next year.
Students had 12 weekdays off in the 2010-11 school year. Winter vacations haven’t been as long since.
The board of trustees shortened the break because parents and some teachers told them it was too long and because a program that allowed students to spend some of winter break catching up in school ended, according to district officials.
The board also spread out a few teacher training days that previously had been concentrated into the first week of January, Bond said.
For the past two years, officials have scheduled just one training day in early January, resulting a shorter winter break.
Trustee Elizabeth Horsch said another reasons is that training of different topics is more effective when spread out.
The board in October adopted a calendar for 2013-14 that’s similar to this school year’s schedule. But trustees next year intend to study and evaluate the calendar for the 2014-15 school year to prepare for a planned revamping of the high school system with career-based academies, Horsch said.
Currently, officials create the calendar under parameters that include fall semester ending before winter break, a week-long spring break and school ending for the summer before Memorial Day, while maintaining the required number of school days, according to Bond. The total number of days students attend school remains at 175.