School Board seeking feedback on future school calendars 

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CALENDAR CLARIFICATION Parents who don't like the current school calendar have an opportunity to influence potential future change as School District 48 officials are looking for feedback on the 2014 spring break schedule.

School officials are looking for help to determine when spring break should happen and how long it should last.

Parents, teachers and others connected to the school system are being polled to determine the ideal spring break period in 2014.

With new regulations now in place the provincial government is giving schools and their district leaders more scheduling flexibility. In the short term the new rules have the Sea to Sky board of school trustees looking for feedback on what to do with the 2014 spring break. A survey is currently being conducted asking stakeholders which of four options are preferred.

The 2014 options presented are: a one-week break at the traditional time; a one-week break around Easter; a two-week break at the traditional time; or a two-week break around Easter

Ian Kent, the assistant superintendent of schools, reported that school district staff were directed by the board of trustees on Nov. 28 to launch the survey so a determination can be made as soon as possible. He added that a larger calendar planning exercise will be launched in the spring to take a broader look at calendar issues.

Parents of school-aged kids should expect to get a survey by e-mail in the coming days. Kent said copies of the survey are available at all the schools for those who don't use e-mail. He noted that quick turnaround is required for this survey because finalized calendars need to be submitted to the education ministry by March 31 and a proposed calendar has to be made available a month ahead of that date so stakeholders can see what school officials are planning to submit to the province.

"The survey will be primarily electronic and be concluded by early January," Kent said. "The board would like to make its decision on spring break as soon as possible to leave as much time as possible for consultations to take place on all the other calendar issues."

Kent said the other issues include things like start and end times, early dismissal schedules and the number and purpose of non-instructional days.

Kent said district superintendent Lisa McCullough has already met with the District Parent Advisory Committee to discuss spring break issues.

Once this consultation is complete school officials will look ahead to a larger calendar planning initiative beyond 2014.

"In the spring we'll open it up for a bigger discussion because you can actually set the calendar now for three years in advance," said Kent. "We've never had that ability before."

According to Kent, the new provincial regulations make year-round schooling or other non-traditional schedule changes possible in school districts around the province.

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