Four-day weekends, full week at Thanksgiving: How do you like your school breaks?

I am noticing on Facebook that many friends took mini-breaks this weekend. I know Gwinnett had a long weekend and apparently other counties took similar breaks as well.

Our schools are on a week-long fall break this week. But we don’t get a full week at Thanksgiving like many Georgia counties do. We only get Thursday and Friday so I guess that’s the trade-off.

A couple of years ago Gwinnett had such a nice schedule with a four-day weekend each quarter. (I think we didn’t get the spring four-day weekend due to make up days for the floods.) It was really something to look forward to and very refreshing I thought. It also gave you a chance to hit Disney World without all the crowds. Plus, you can go to the beach one last time and get the lower after-Labor Day rate!

So I am wondering, what kind of breaks do you like? Would you rather have a bunch of four-day weekends? Do you like the week at Thanksgiving so you could actually travel home? (You can’t travel just for four days unless your family lives just one-state over.) Or would you rather have this random week in the fall off?

Is your county having a fall break or just a long weekend? Did you go anywhere?

54 comments Add your comment

motherjanegoose

October 11th, 2011
6:58 am

My kids are in college, so this does not affect me. I have heard that the teachers in Gwinnett love the full week at Thanksgiving. I do not understand why you cannot travel more than one state over in a four day weekend. Some states are pretty small. Maybe I am missing something here? I drove to Illinois in a weekend ( left Th and came home on Sa) and that is technically 3 states from GA, unless I forgot.

I do remember that I once had a meeting in Rhode Island and they switched it a different location in the state. Not as many people attended. I asked, “was it because I was speaking and they did not know me?”
Reply, “Oh no, we moved the location and some folks called us and told us they would not be driving 30 minutes to get here…too far!” I laughed and told them that 30 minutes in the Atlanta traffic was NOTHING.

Have a great day all!

motherjanegoose

October 11th, 2011
7:20 am

In fairness, I did not drive to Illinois with kids in the car…just by myself. Maybe that is it?

KAW

October 11th, 2011
7:55 am

I wish Cobb County had a long weekend. Our first break is not until Thanksgiving. We get a week off then. This stretch from August to November is long. I think everyone could use a few days to unwind and then be motivated to keep going. But, for some reason, our Board thinks it makes sense to start mid-August and go straight until Thanksgiving.

I just don’t get how starting one week later makes a difference. I don’t even think we need a full week off in the fall — just the Friday and Monday of Columbus Day weekend would have been perfect. This Board is completely unwiling to listen to a compromise or even consider any other suggestions. My Board representative’s term is up this year, and I will definitely be voting for change.

HB

October 11th, 2011
8:06 am

MJG — 30 minutes? That’s the opposite side of the state! ;) I lived in RI for a couple of years. One day my landlord was complaining that he had to drive all the way to Massachusetts to pick something up at WalMart that eveing — it was 2 miles away.

Older Sister

October 11th, 2011
8:40 am

My little sister is in school in City Schools of Decatur and they are on a “semi year round” calendar so every 6 weeks, they get a full week off of school. So she got a week of in Sept, gets a full week for thanksgiving, gets a week in February, and then gets a week in April for spring break. Her summer is a little shorter but i like this cause it gives my family time to travel.

Me

October 11th, 2011
8:41 am

Wishing that Cobb County had left the school calendar from last year intact. Perhaps the “new” calendar for the current year works best for most but certainly not for us.

motherjanegoose

October 11th, 2011
8:45 am

HB…yes it is all relative. The folks in Montana make a Wal Mart run and it is 2 hours…true. The speed limit is 75 mph too!

KAW

October 11th, 2011
8:52 am

@Me I haven’t heard anyone in Cobb County (other than the Board) that likes the current year calendar. Just the Friday and Monday of Columbus Day weekend off would have been perfect to recharge!

Betty

October 11th, 2011
8:54 am

@Older Sister– I would LOVE that schedule. I wish Fulton County would go Semi Year Round. The summer is too hot for me and vacation places like Disney are so crowded. I would love to have breaks throughout the year to enjoy the changing seasons with vacations spread out at different times. There are so many things I would love to do with my kids in the Fall specifically, that I don’t work in to the summer break because its too hot IMHO.

lulu

October 11th, 2011
9:00 am

I would love the semi-year round schedule, too! I wish APS would pick up on that!

The 4-day weekend is nice. I was able to schedule dentist appointments, etc. for these couple of days off so we don’t miss any school, so that’s good. My schedule is too hectic to really be enjoying the long weekend, but my kid is having a blast, so I’ll take it.

Bella

October 11th, 2011
9:06 am

“I have heard that the teachers in Gwinnett love the full week at Thanksgiving.”

The parents don’t! We have been used to getting the 3 days at Thanksgiving … forever … that it seems ridiculous, especially since in less than a month later you get another 2 weeks off for “Winter” break. Turning the students brains on and off like that is not good for learning as well. A longer break earlier in the early Fall would be better, having Friday off as well would have been nice.

More and more parents are working now, a stay at mom mom is becoming rare. I think the area employers would like it if these schools systems stick with tradition, like a small Thanksgiving break. Right now it is crazy dealing with all the changes and every single school system and privarte school wreaks havoc on the work environment.

ABC

October 11th, 2011
9:16 am

@Betty, I’m with you. Wish Fulton would at least consider some sort of modified, year-around schedule. They get next Monday off, but teachers have scheduled conferences that day so you can’t really go anywhere. First real break is Thanksgiving, but even that is only Wednesday-Friday. Would love a schedule where we didn’t have 11 weeks off during the hottest part of the year, but rather had breaks at other times like this month, February…the non-traditional times when airfares might be a bit lower.

Techmom

October 11th, 2011
9:28 am

Henry Co gets the week-long breaks. I know a lot of people love them but for folks who work and don’t get that much vacation, it can be a pain. I would rather start school a week later (we started August 1st this year) and have a 4 day weekend at the end of Sept and then 3 days off the week of Thanksgiving versus two full weeks. August 1st is just too early. We’ve missed family reunions and weddings the last several years b/c we have family from up north who doesn’t go back to school until after Labor Day.

Plus the week-long break in September really doesn’t do any good for kids in HS who play sports. They often still have games that week (b/c not everyone has break the same week) and typically those students will have practice and games. I know you could say that those kids have a choice not to play sports but that’s a bit ridiculous too. Unfortunately you can’t miss practices or games either or the coaches will bench you for it. If we’re going to be on break, that at least need to have a true break- no games or practices OR projects.

Techmom

October 11th, 2011
9:30 am

My comment got stuck in cyber-space

jarvis

October 11th, 2011
9:41 am

The Cobb Board cowered to a lobby that backs traditional school calendars. I guess there are people out there that like things the way the were….even if they sucked.

I don’t know who the contirbutors are for The Coalition for a Traditional School Year, but it seems like a funny thing to lobby for to me. I’m guessing some amusement companies like Six Flags Corp etc might be interested in a longer summer, but other than that, who would care enough to contribut to a PAC?

thewindwhistler

October 11th, 2011
9:44 am

The reason for the poor showing academically compared with China, Japan and even Scandinavian countries is the long, long breaks where academics is very secondary.

All of the above being said, why worry,over half the populance gets a government check.

Figment

October 11th, 2011
9:44 am

I have a question for people with younger kids – what do you do for daycare during these holidays since it seems the daycares are closed too?

oneofeach4me

October 11th, 2011
9:46 am

I am with KAW & ME. I am in Cobb County and I much more preferred the Sept break we got last year. We actually took the kids to the mountains for the week to do “fall” activities and we had planned on taking them to Disney this Feb but of course, now that we are back to the traditional calendar that won’t happen. I didn’t mind not having a full week off at Thanksgiving because having the Sept break and then the 2 week Christmas break there was enough there. Oh well….. I will definitely be voting against the current board come voting time.

oneofeach4me

October 11th, 2011
9:52 am

@Figment ~ the daycare’s are only typically closed on the holidays themselves or the day before or the day after depending on when it falls. They are closed on Thanksgiving and usually the day after. Most people who work in an office also have those days off, or pretty close to it. So the kids go to daycare on the days they are open during those breaks.

Lori

October 11th, 2011
9:54 am

We are in Henry County, so we get full weeks throughout the year. We start in early August and get a week in September, a week at Thanksgiving, 2 weeks at Christmas, a week in February and a week in April. I love it!! The week in September is fantastic for vacations like Disney or going to the beach, because it’s still summer, but there are no crowds. The week in February is nice too. We’ve gotten some great deals on cruises during that week because it hits before peak season, but the weather is still great in the Caribbean! But the kids love it too because it gives them some much needed breaks throughout the year. I remember when I was in school, after Christmas, we didn’t get anything until Spring Break. Those were the longest 4 months of your life!!! I think its great to get little breaks in between instead.

oneofeach4me

October 11th, 2011
9:54 am

@Jarvis ~ it’s off topic so I won’t ramble. But this story basically details what the deal is with that if you want to read it. http://www.eastcobber.com/wake-up-call-cobb-county-school-board-vote-to-change-school-calendar-reveals-stealth-political-forces-at-work/

Kat

October 11th, 2011
9:57 am

You can tell someone’s “technology” age by the use of the term “cyberspace.”

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

October 11th, 2011
9:57 am

I am pulling it out. I will be out a lot today so sorry if I can’t grab others later. I will try to retrieve anything later in the day.

Techmom

October 11th, 2011
10:01 am

Well I guess my comment isn’t going to come back… Henry County is on the “balanced calendar” and we go back to school August 1st. This is entirely too early. Not only is it still pushing a 100 degrees with the heat index but it’s the middle of summer for folks up north. Every year we miss family reunions and weddings b/c we have family who does stuff in August b/c they don’t go back until after Labor Day. I think Labor Day is too late but I’d even be happy with going back a week later in August and taking only 2 days off in Sept/Oct for a long weekend and then 3 days at Thanksgiving. Instead we get a week off in September and the whole week of Thanksgiving and must live through the dreaded heat and alternative practice schedules at the beginning of the school year b/c it’s too hot for the kids to practice right after school.

Further, the problem arising for any family who has a student athlete in high school is that you don’t really get a week off in September. Last year we had football games both Friday nights of fall break. That meant we were at a game on Friday night until 10:30pm, got Saturday, Sunday & Monday off and then our son had to be at practice Tues, Wed, Thurs and game on Friday. If it’s going to be a break, then it needs to be a break- no practices, no games and no projects either!

JOD

October 11th, 2011
10:08 am

DD’s still in preschool, so we go year-round for now…

@Figment – Fortunately, my current employer observes all of the holidays where the school is closed. My prior employer didn’t, however, so that meant taking PTO for days when the daycare was closed if Hubs had to work. It was a bummer.

Atlanta mom

October 11th, 2011
10:10 am

APS decided to give a full week at Thanksgiving because they realized the least attended days of the year were the Monday and Tuesday of that week.
Four day weekends seem preferable to me over an entire week for other breaks. Seems that one could scramble to cover two days of childcare. A whole week needs a real plan.

Lori

October 11th, 2011
10:11 am

@Figment – Most daycare centers adjust to match the school system. My son is able to attend for the entire week at his daycare during the weeks that school is out if we don’t go on vacation. They are only actually closed on the holiday itself, like Thanksgiving, but they are open the rest of the week. Same for fall, winter and spring breaks. If we don’t take off work, he just goes to daycare for the one week.

Atlanta mom

October 11th, 2011
10:13 am

@techmom
I agree with you about “If it’s going to be a break, then it needs to be a break- no practices, no games and no projects either!”
The only reason I like August start dates is because the semester ends before winter break, and projects are not assigned over the break (usually)

Lori

October 11th, 2011
10:14 am

I agree with @Techmom on the sports. I’m in Henry Co too, but I haven’t had the problem with the sports, since my son is in Elementary school. But we do play soccer for the county, but they follow the school schedule and don’t have practice or games during the weeks off of school. I don’t think schools should have sports events during the breaks.

jarvis

October 11th, 2011
11:08 am

@Techmom, on average it’s one degree hotter on August 1 than it is on August 20.
http://www.weather.com/weather/wxclimatology/daily/USGA0028?climoMonth=8

jarvis

October 11th, 2011
11:11 am

Also, I’d pay good money to have a built in excuse to skip a family reunion.

ali

October 11th, 2011
11:23 am

I’m the mom of a Cobb County student and I am thankful the calendar was switched back to its previous format! The previous calendar was unnecessary and created undue hardship on parents. Some posters stated that students don’t have any breaks between Aug – Nov, which is not quite accurate. The students received a day off for Labor Day and on Nov 8th. It seems more parents are worried about the impact it has on their vacation plans than the education of their children. There is no necessity for students to have a one week break every month (this was the case with the old calendar). The breaks were disruptive and I’m glad the current board, who campaigned on changing the calendar, actually did what they were elected to do! Thank you Cobb County Board of Education!!!

Techmom

October 11th, 2011
11:53 am

@Jarvis – I happen to like my extended family.

As far as the 1 degree temp average goes, eh, it’s an average. An average of 89 degrees for the past 100 years doesn’t mean that the average heat index (b/c humidity plays a big factor when you’re at 90+ degrees) wasn’t 95-100+ degrees forcing alternative practice schedules. I’d like to know how many teams/school systems had to have alternative practice schedules for the first two weeks of the school year due to the heat? I’d venture to guess it was only the school systems who went back August 1.

jarvis

October 11th, 2011
12:46 pm

For the record, at least for football, the Summer practices start before Summer vacation is over

jarvis

October 11th, 2011
12:48 pm

@ali, you had 4 Republicans running in Cobb County….you think the calendar really had an impact on the election?

jarvis

October 11th, 2011
12:48 pm

Warrior Woman

October 11th, 2011
12:56 pm

@KAW – I’m in Cobb and would much rather have this year’s calendar than last year’s. Everyone I know that has high school students feels the same way. The current Board listened to the people that elected them on the platform of dumping the academics-unfriendly, high school-unfriendly, active-student-unfriendly, semi-year-round calendar.

@Techmom – My high school student-athletes did not get a single week-long break during Cobb’s experiment with a semi-year-round calendar. They had practice, mandatory conditioning, or games during every break except summer break. In addition, most of their teachers violated county policy by assigning projects immediately before the breaks that were due immediately after the breaks.

@ali – I’m with you! The research on learning retention shows the frequent week-long breaks are worse for retention than a longer summer break.

Once Again

October 11th, 2011
12:59 pm

Homeschoolers take their classroom on the road with them. Bureaucratic and political wrangling isn’t something they have to worry about. Why are you not homeschooling your children so that they too could experience the joy of learning year round in the kind of non-threatening, nurturing environment that they deserve?

jarvis

October 11th, 2011
1:02 pm

@Warrior Woman, I’m guessing I’m in a different part of Cobb, but my expericne has been the exact opposite in the feelings around the calendars.

Not too many in the Eastern side of the county like being back on the traditional calendar. Scott Sweeney has no chance of making it through the primary in East Cobb next go around. He’ll lose his seat to another Republican before the General Election.

Considering it will only take one vote to reverse the Board’s decision, I don’t imagine this debate will end anytime soon.

jarvis

October 11th, 2011
1:03 pm

@Once Again, because we’re not all religous freaks scared of having our children being around those from diverse homes.

Who Me?

October 11th, 2011
1:18 pm

“I have heard that the teachers in Gwinnett love the full week at Thanksgiving.”

I do, but if you think the teachers in Gwinnett had any input in the decision on the calendar, I’ve got some land in Florida to sell you as well.

FYI, the day off yesterday for Gwinnett was a furlough day. It’s usually the planning day for the teachers at the end of the first nine weeks. So, while I enjoyed my day off, I spent about three hours of it grading papers and getting report cards done on my own time, since the grades had to be done by 3:05 today.

Techmom

October 11th, 2011
1:23 pm

@Jarvis, you’re right, the football team has conditioning 4 days per week the entire summer but it wasn’t at 3:30pm in the heat of the day every day. But since school started August 1, practice starting Aug 1 was at 3:30pm. And football players aren’t the only athletes affected: softball, cross country, cheerleading and marching band are all “fall” sports. We can also argue about the cost of electricity to run the schools an extra week during the hottest part of the year like we’ve done so many times.

Other than the heat, my point about not liking the time off during the year is that you don’t actually get a full week off. I’d rather go back to school a week later and get an extra week of no mandatory practices or games during the summer than a pretend week off in September (or December, February or April for that matter). We have wrestling conflicts with Thanksgiving & Christmas break and for February & Spring break we have soccer. If kids and their families need a real break, then they need to put policies into place such that there are no practices, games, projects, homework, etc. during the breaks (or due the day you come back).

motherjanegoose

October 11th, 2011
1:34 pm

@ who me? Please give me some credit. I have worked in schools from coast to coast and I know that what teachers want is not typically on the top of the list, it may not even make the list at all! I am simply repeating what I heard, as I thought it kinda related to the topic.

Many teachers are fussing about furlough days and I DO understand. No one likes a pay cut or to work without being paid. Those of us who are self employed might be happy to trade 3-5 furlough days at $250-$400 per day for what we have lost in the past year. We all make choices and yes, I chose to be self employed. This economy is a stinker and unless folks realize that we need more than the change we were promised…we will have more of the same.

Off to the airport and thankfully to someone who will be paying me! I count my blessings.

jarvis

October 11th, 2011
1:35 pm

@Techmom, I see your point. I can remember the high school baseball season going into Summer break on the other end. I didn’t play anymore by that point, but I remember thinking it was weird that the boys still had state playoff games and practices after we graduated.

Don’t know if that happens anymore or not.

FCM

October 11th, 2011
1:43 pm

Cobb County cannot get it right….Last year the calendar bit for those working…and this year it does too.

For one thing schools in Cobb seem to still assume one parent is home all the time. They have an annoying tendency to schedule things right 6 when traffic is a witch. Also, mostly at the top or bottom of a month…why not the middle?

As to time off….Cobb County has “half days” for week later this month for conferences. Fulton had that one right when we were there….1 day off and all conferences that day or by appt with the teacher.

Sure I maybe grumpy…..I am also tired of Corporate America at war with govt time off….Also, to those wanting Columbus Day off, besides a white sale what exactly are you doing to “celebrate” with the kids? Columbus landed in the Bahamas.

FoorballMom

October 11th, 2011
2:39 pm

I wish I could be in one of those familes that seems to get to go on vacation on all these breaks. The kids need more school……not less. A three day weekend every now and then should be good enough. We haven’t been on a vacation in years….I use up all my time with sick kids. The “grown up ” world is not full of these little breaks. If they actually spent more time at school, teachers might be able to teach the subject and not the test.

jarvis

October 11th, 2011
2:44 pm

FoorballMom, same number of days in school on either calendar, and the “grown up” world is more closely full of little breaks than it is of a giant one in the Summer.

Also, how much vacation do you get in a year if you are using all of it on sick kids?

jarvis

October 11th, 2011
2:49 pm

FCM, that is funny. My best friend an I were discussing Columbus Day in the same light today. Notice we live in a country named after Amerigo Vespucci not one named after Columbus.

The Vikingslanded in Nova Scotia five hundred years before his Bahamian landing…not to mention there were already people here.

oneofeach4me

October 11th, 2011
2:54 pm

@warrior woman ~ actually the study shows the contrary. It’s the long summer break in between school years, a consistent 8-10 weeks, that interferes with learning retention. That is why teachers in grade school spend almost the entire 1st six weeks in review. One week breaks do not interfere with memory, it’s once you get into the 3 weeks or longer.

@ali ~ see my reply to warrior woman about whether or not parents care about their child’s education or their vacation more. Unfortunately for me I don’t have a lot of money to spend on vacations and would LOVE to be able to go to the beach on a week in September and cut that cost in half. Of course if paying double doesn’t hurt your pocket why would you care? It would also pay to remember that out of the 3 new members that were elected to the board, two of them had no competition. It’s like winning by default. We will see just how much people like the traditional calendar when elections come back around again. Most people were side swiped by the whole thing, I have yet to meet one person who wanted the traditional calendar back. Never again will I be so naive to think that elected officials will go with what the majority of the district votes for. You won’t catch me sleeping on another school board election every again that’s for sure.

Techmom

October 11th, 2011
3:10 pm

What school systems get Columbus day off? My son has never had it off, nor can I remember getting it off when I was in school either.