FRAMINGHAM – School will start before Labor Day again for the 2019-2020 school year.
The 9-member Framingham School Committee approved the proposed calendar proposed by Superintendent of School Bob Tremblay tonight, Feb. 6.
“The district does have flexibility with the start date of school – before or after Labor Day – but given the requirements that the school year must include 180 days for students and must end before June 30th every year (the last day of the fiscal year in public education), the practice of starting school before Labor Day has become more common in Massachusetts communities,” said Tremblay to the School Committee in a memo. “Efforts to end the school year as early as possible in June when the weather typically starts to become very warm, particularly in schools without air conditioning, also plays a role in this decision-making process.”
Tremblay had requested additional time to review the calendar as he requested “community feedback.”
“We feel that by providing the extended opportunity for broad-based community input, we were able to put forward a better, more informed calendar for the School Committee to consider,” wrote tremblay in a memo to the School Committee.
But “because many of the calendar edit suggestions had contractual implications (e.g., start date of school or elimination of long-standing February/April vacations),” they were not implimented in the 2019-2020 school year calendar.
Below are some key dates in the proposed school calendar:
First Day of School: Wednesday, August 28 (grades 1-12)
Grade 9 orientation on Tuesday, August 27:
First day of Kindergarten on Thursday, August 29
In January, the 9-member School Committee also voted to re-name the federal Columbus Day holiday to Columbus Day/Indigenous People’s Day by a vote of 5-4.
“Similar to the current (2018-2019) school year, only one day of Rosh Hashanah will be observed as a no-school day in the coming school year (2019-2020), explained Tremblay.
“As was discussed with the Interfaith Advisory Council, for any family that observes both days, child(ren) will be given an excused absence for the religious observance. Additionally, we are taking steps to ensure that homework is not assigned on the second day of Rosh Hashanah,” said Tremblay in a memo to the School Committee.
Religious holidays – no school:
- September 30 (Rosh Hashanah)
- October 9 (Yom Kippur)
- April 10 (Good Friday)
- Monday, December 23 – Wednesday, January 1
- February 17-21
- April 20-24
“When we looked at the proposed time off for the Winter Break, the initial outline would have been (Tuesday) December 24, 2019 – January 1, 2020. We made the decision to include (Monday) December 23, 2019 as a no-school day as this would likely be a day of low attendance throughout the district given that this one school day follows a weekend and precedes a long holiday break,” wrote Tremblay to the School Committee.
In regards to the February and April vacation weeks, Tremblay said these “traditional and long-standing vacation weeks align with surrounding school districts and most efforts made to change this practice in Massachusetts have resulted in a return to the traditional practice. Community feedback, however, suggests that further exploration for reducing these week-long breaks in exchange for the longer winter break may be appropriate. We will look at this with great interest and, should a change in this long-standing model be proposed for a future school calendar, it would be the result of bargaining with the Framingham Teachers Association and with several years notice provided to the community.”
Proposed 180th Day: June 17, 2020
Proposed graduation for the Class of 2020 – June 7
In regards to the early release days, some parents had suggested they be moved from Thursday to Fridays, in feedback.
“Based on a survey conducted in conjunction with the Framingham Teachers Association several years ago, respondents indicated that their preference for professional development/early release time would be on Thursdays. This has just become a standing practice,” said Tremblay.
There was some feedback from the community on the proposed professional development days scheduled and the proposed no school days on election day.
“Teachers and Administrators need opportunities to grow and learn. Professional Development organized by the District or the Framingham Teachers Association (FTA) are wonderful opportunities for our staff to connect, grow, and expand their capabilities to be the best they can be for our students. In the past, these days have aligned with school vacations and this works for some, but not for everyone,” wrote Tremblay to the School Committee.
“Election Days in Framingham pose a separate set of challenges to some of our school communities. Traffic in and around the schools, foot traffic from the general voting public, and in some cases children having to eat lunch in their classrooms pose risks and complications to running a school. In an effort to reduce the intersection of the general voting public with our students, we made an intentional decision to shift the professional development days to those days designated for voting,” said Tremblay.
In the 2019-2020 school year, there are 3 days (September 17, 2019; November 5, 2019; and March 3, 2020) that align with our allotted Professional Development time, and they are no school days for students.
Tremblay included inthe 2019-2020 school calendar, four no homework days – August 29, October 31, January 30 and April 30.