Parkway students will have Good Friday off next school year.
The Parkway Board of Education approved several minor changes to the 2011-2012 calendar at their Wednesday meeting, including closing school on April 6, 2012.
District spokesman Paul Tandy, who was on the calendar committee, said closing school on the Friday before Easter makes sense. In the past three years, Parkway schools have seen a drop in attendance on that day. Normally, the district has about a 95 percent attendance rate on any given day, Tandy said. That’s dropped to 92 or 90 percent on Good Friday. This year, about 800 students were absent.
Teachers also often take the day off, Tandy said. This year, 190 substitute teachers were requested on Good Friday, costing the district about $20,000. Normally, 40 substitutes are requested a day. In the past, Tandy said, the pool of substitute teachers has run out on the day, causing some requests for time off to be denied.
“It’s one thing to talk about fairness about religious days off, but there’s also a practicality that we have to consider,” board member Dee Mogerman said. “It doesn’t make sense for us to have school on that day. This seems to come up every year.”
The board also approved a slight shift to the winter break to make the semesters more equal. Winter break will run from Dec. 23 to Jan. 4, 2012, which includes two professional development days for teachers. The first semester will have 87 days, while the second semester will have 90.
A professional development day that was previously slated for the day after school closed will now be Jan. 4, 2012. These two changes make the winter break start and end one day later than originally planned, but keep it the same length.
The board unanimously approved the changes.
Important 2011-2012 academic calendar dates:
Aug. 16: First day of school
Sept. 2-5: Labor Day holiday
Nov. 23-25: Thanksgiving Break
Dec. 23-Jan. 4, 2012: Winter Break (includes two professional development days)
Feb. 17-20, 2012: A professional day and President’s Day make for a four-day weekend
March 16-23, 2012: Spring Break (note that March 16 is a possible snow day make-up day)
April 6, 2012: No school, Good Friday
May 24, 2012: Last day of school