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Sachem Schools Cut 4 Days From Winter Break

Schools will also be open on April 1 as district seeks to recoup days lost to Sandy.

The Sachem Board of Education has voted to slash four days from Winter Break in February to make up for days lost to Hurricane Sandy, according to a district press release. 

The new school calendar mimics what BOCES has decided to do so students that go to BOCES will be aligned with the rest of the district, board trustee Michael Isernia told Patch.  

Full release

At the recommendation of Sachem Superintendent James Nolan, the Sachem Central School District Board of Education voted on a ruling for how the district will make up the seven instructional days lost due to Hurricane Sandy during Wednesday’s board work session.

Sachem Schools will be open during February break from Tuesday, Feb. 19 through Friday, Feb. 22, and also on Monday, April 1.

The seven instructional days lost include 10/29, 10/30, 10/31, 11/1, 11/2, 11/5, 11/8. The school calendar includes 180 days of instruction and three teacher conference days for a total of 183 days. New York State requires a total of 180 days to avoid a penalty in State Aid.

“This would have us at 181 days which would meet the state requirements, still leave us with one snow day, but most importantly, allow us to make up for lost instructional time,” Nolan said in a statement. “I fully understand that both employees and students may already have vacation plans and that there is the possibility of absenteeism, but I believe this is the most proactive win/win scenario possible at this time.”

If Sachem does find itself in need of a snow day, Mr. Nolan recommended the following:

  • 2 snow days – Open 3/25
  • 3 snow days – Open 3/25 and 3/27
  • 4 snow days – Open 3/25, 3/27 and 3/28

According to Nolan, the school district has been told by the state that extending school days would not be allowable, and even if the state were to forgive lost time, they would require Sachem to first exhaust all possible vacation/recess time.

“Obviously, this is not an easy decision, nor did we anticipate or bring this upon ourselves,” said Nolan. “The key is to work interdependently, try our very best to understand, and continue to provide an environment that will enable our students to meet with success and become the very best version of themselves.”

Jeanine December 06, 2012 at 03:36 AM
Wouldn't it have been better to take a a day or two from February break and a day or two from the spring break? This way if anyone already had vacations plan they would not be missing the entire week from one break.
Toni Caple December 06, 2012 at 03:43 AM
I agree with Jeanine absolutely right ..
Karen Murphy December 06, 2012 at 10:59 AM
They're saving spring recess in case they need snow days. They already took the monday after Easter away!
dr December 06, 2012 at 11:18 AM
So what happens to teachers/staff and families who stand to lose a lot of $$ caneling planned vacations? will absences be considered illegal if vacation plans were made before the storm? Many of us do not plan vacations during school weeks even though they are less expensive as we do not purposely take our kids out of school. So my sons have 100% attendance. For past 3 years (middle school and HS) Not easy to do! Will they be absent illegally now as we will be away that week.
toni December 06, 2012 at 11:47 AM
its better then having to extend school in june I think they did the best they could
Nancy K. Nee December 06, 2012 at 12:08 PM
What about teachers taking off anyway, (not that I blame them) because of previously made plans?..and having substitutes that basically babysit...therefor making the days in school useless for learning anyway....a big waste of time....I hope this doesn't happen but not sure it won't
P Mary December 06, 2012 at 01:29 PM
It's not about vacations, it's about our kid's education. They missed a week and it should be made up so the teachers aren't doubling homework or skimming through lessons. Our kids take year end exams that are important and should be taken seriously. I bet many plans can be rescheduled without penalty because of Hurricane Sandy. I think the board made the right decision and the teachers/parents should plan to attend school and deal with it. We can't control natural disasters, but we can what is best for our kids in spite of it.
John Cosgrove December 06, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Teachers get 15 weeks vacation per year. I'm sure they will be forced to be in. Bottom line is this. Our kids are getting MORE.. P Mary said it all
michele petrillo December 06, 2012 at 09:02 PM
I agree w Mary also-its a regular day of school-if students do not attend it will be considered an absence-im offended by Nancys comment about substitutes-its not like years ago where the kids would throw paper airplanes at the sub-the teachers email their lesson plan to there principal-the subs do follow them and the kids learn.
Gina Chiarello December 07, 2012 at 04:07 AM
Clearly you don't know how to count. There are 52 weeks in a year and school is 40 weeks a year. Teachers AND STUDENTS do not get 15 weeks off! And I believe that most people have federal holidays off as well as educators. If you wanted to be a teacher you should have gone to college for 6 years, taken state tests to get your certification and you could have been off for the summer also.
dr December 07, 2012 at 04:27 AM
It has nothing to do with students or curriculum lets be real. It is all about $$ state aid. Really if one week will make or break exam grades then the kids are in trouble really. And why must it always come down to criticizing teachers. teachers have a right to plan family vacations and a right to be disappointed when told they must cancel. does thismean families or school personnel should never plan a vacation during weeks designated as vacation in case of emergency. keep in mind the feb days are not deemed as potentially being open in case of emergency closings as noted right on the school calender. so, they went agsinst want is posted on the calender march was designated as the emergency make up days. that should be the week days are taken from. it is not right.
dr December 07, 2012 at 04:34 AM
so go back to college and become a teacher
J.M. February 15, 2013 at 10:47 PM
The effects of Hurricane Irene in 2011 devastated many areas in Upstate New York, which resulted in many flooded schools, homes, etc... However, a bill was passed through both houses which in turn would not penalize the damaged school districts for lost school days. Hurricane Sandy caused more devastation (In dollars) than Irene did and yet no such bill was written for our area. Those of you who question my information can easily look it up. We should have been given the same break here in Long Island instead of penalizing the districts by making them use vacation time. Our family cancelled our February trip mainly because we were able to get a full refund on the tickets and hotel but I know many families were not so lucky.

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