Rockdale County students have started a petition to restore their winter break, which the school board eliminated Thursday in a 5-2 vote. The board voted to use the week to make up the January snow days. The timing of the vote — only three weeks before the break was scheduled — has upset families who have plane tickers and plans.
“I have personally started a petition with a few of my classmates to regain our Winter Break. We are near 300 signatures in approximately 24 hours, however it is urgent we receive many more. The majority of students, parents and RCPS employees feel the decision was unjust and unnecessary,” said Rockdale 10th grader Mark Meyers in an e-mail to the AJC.
Not sure what the petition will do if the system has to make up the days. It doesn’t seem educationally sound to put the days at the end of the year, as time tacked onto late May would not render much teaching or learning.
The Rockdale schools web site states: The Board of Education has approved February 14th -18th as make-up days for the five snow days taken due to the massive winter storm. In addition, they have modified the calendar for President’s Day, February 21st, to be a student and staff holiday. The school system will work with students and staff who have a hardship with this change, such as paid and non-refundable vacation plans. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding as this difficult decision was made considering the instructional needs of all of our students while not penalizing those with a hardship due to this change. Again, students will be in school Monday through Friday, February 14th through the 18th and Monday, February 21st will be a student and staff holiday.
Several area churches have planned youth retreats and ski trips over the break, and the rescheduling of the missed time has put stress on students wanting to take the trips and youth pastors losing money and chaperones.
“We’ve always tried to work very closely with the school system; we are constantly working around school calendars,” said Mark Walker, a youth pastor at Rockdale Baptist Church, who said the church could lose between $1,250 and $2,000 if they canceled their trip. “Summers have gotten shorter since you went to a balanced calendar, and we can’t always get everything in over the summer. We desperately need this.”
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog