Seattle Public Schools bringing back ‘mid-winter break’

May 23, 2013 at 12:06 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 12 Comments

After one year without it, it appears the one-week “mid-winter break” is returning to Seattle Public Schools next year. This year, what had been the “mid-winter break” week was bookended by three-day weekends. But a full week is back in the district’s announcement today of key dates for next year’s calendar – read on for the announcement published on the district website:

Seattle Public Schools and the Seattle Education Association have agreed to key dates for next year’s school calendar, including:

• frst day of school: Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013;
• winter break: two weeks, from Dec. 23, 2013, to Jan. 3, 2014;
• mid-winter break: Feb. 17-21, 2014, including the Presidents Day holiday;
• spring break: April 14-18, 2014; and
• last day of school: yet to be determined (June 18 or 19, 2014).

The calendar also builds in four snow make-up days, including Jan. 31, 2014, May 23, 2014, and the two days after the last day of school. It’s important that families should plan for students to potentially be in school during these days, and to note that the last day of school could be Monday, June 23, 2014.

Still undetermined are three professional development days, designed to allow teachers and other instructional staff time to collaborate and participate in professional development activities.

The state requires schools to be in session 180 days. The District asked for a waiver to allow three of those days for professional development, but the Washington State Board of Education has not yet approved that waiver.

A vote from the state Board could come in July, and the Seattle School Board will need to approve the final calendar this summer. The state action could impact the date for the last day of school.

Also, still to be determined are the three days before Thanksgiving. In the past several years, elementary school students did not have school the week of Thanksgiving because of parent-teacher conferences. If waiver days are not approved, the District and Seattle Education Association will have to determine early release days in November to accommodate conferences.

12 Comments

  1. Why?? What the hell is this? It’s so stupid! We have never had mid-winter break growing up. There are too many breaks.

    Comment by L. — 3:00 pm May 23, 2013 #

  2. 180 days do not get waived or traded off anywhere that I know about. Mid winter break?

    Comment by edu4 — 4:13 pm May 23, 2013 #

  3. I love it.
    .
    Sure, there are pros and cons. Some of the pros are that the week off is just long enough that the schools can offer an educational day camp for kids who need it – intensely boosting math or reading in a way that they cant during the regular school. Or there is band camp, offering musical enrichment that the kids just arent going t get in their one hour a week music class.
    .
    It’s a great time to travel. Rates are low.
    .
    The week is just long enough that teachers can sometimes get some of their continuing education requirements done, and come back ready to teach with new skills.
    .
    I just wish the K-12 calendar and the Community Colleges calendar synched up. Maybe even UW too. But that’s nt likely, I know.

    Comment by Lura Ercolano — 5:33 pm May 23, 2013 #

  4. The observation I have heard from some high school teachers is that the mid-winter break is unfortunate for the kids in their Advance Placement classes. It means they have fewer days in class to prepare for their spring AP tests and more days in class after the tests are over, when it is too late.

    Comment by Lisa Weeks — 8:50 pm May 23, 2013 #

  5. I guess being a teacher isn’t so bad….

    Comment by marty — 8:57 pm May 23, 2013 #

  6. The union rep at our elementary school said today that as part of the negotiations with the district, mid winter break will come back every other year. As a new parent, I have a newfound appreciation for the pain in the butt this is for families.

    Comment by HP gal — 10:09 pm May 23, 2013 #

  7. Teachers work the same number of days, they will not get more time off when you look at the total days in the school year. Many other districts have a week off for mid-winter break instead of a long weekend. Many other districts have traded off days (waiver days) for professional development because the state took away days that were after or before the student school year that used to be used for professional development and/or classroom set-up. Teachers were not happy about that because it meant working less days, and bringing home less money. I actually think it will be nice for families that want to take their vacations with their kids at a different time of year, instead of just during summers.

    Comment by WS parent — 11:34 pm May 23, 2013 #

  8. I’d like to understand why they are even considering taking three days away from student instruction for professional development days. Seems like the 180 days should be untouchable.

    Comment by KC — 6:45 am May 24, 2013 #

  9. yeah marty, except for the whole pay thing…

    Comment by cr — 8:19 am May 24, 2013 #

  10. I know there is inconvenience, but remember-Schools are not babysitting services.

    Comment by TT — 7:05 pm May 25, 2013 #

  11. Any one hear about pathfinders ending their middle school program in 2 years?

    Comment by Kb — 11:46 pm May 26, 2013 #

  12. Source of that claim?

    Comment by WSB — 11:49 pm May 26, 2013 #

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