School survey sides with status quo 

Stakeholders vote to keep traditional two-week break in March

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The people have spoken and the board of school trustees has gone with the wishes of the majority. Students in the Sea to Sky school district will have their spring break in 2014 between March 17 and 28.

The decision to stick with a two-week spring break period comes after school trustees asked parents, teachers, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and other school system stakeholders to fill out a survey on the issue. The survey asked whether spring break should be one or two weeks long and whether it should fall in April with the Easter long weekend.

Just over 1,000 adults and 800 students tackled the survey questions.

Peter Jory, School District 48 director of instruction technology and innovation, led the survey and said student leaders conducted their own survey based on his questions. Feedback came through group consultation sessions and other survey methods.

Trustees approved a two-week spring break in March 2014 based on support from 62 per cent of surveyed adults.

About 10 per cent said they were fine with either one- or two-week breaks.

Results show that Squamish and Whistler respondents voted in similar patterns but the final tally also indicates that 53.5 per cent of Pemberton parents prefer a one-week spring break attached to Easter.

Andrea Beaubien, vice-chair of the board, said she was struck by the low completion rate.

"Another thing I take into consideration when I look at the numbers is how many people did not respond," said Beaubien. "I think a non-response does say something."

Trustee Pat MacKenzie said parents she spoke with on the Parent Advisory Committee at Signal Hill Elementary said they wished they could have included comments with their survey response.

"The conversation for them is always the calendar and collaboration days," MacKenzie said. "It is a big issue for them."

MacKenzie also said the people she spoke with made it clear they feel the board of trustees doesn't listen to them.

"What they want is not exactly what everybody else wants," said MacKenzie. "It is a small group that seems to think its voice is not heard."

The Pemberton trustee said she reassured the group that next year there will be a more transparent process for creating the calendar under a new set of provincial guidelines.

See the survey results at www.sd48seatosky.org.

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