At its meeting last night, the Wilton Board of Education voted to approve the school year calendars for 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 that had been proposed at its last meeting.
The most notable changes include a return to a pre-Labor Day start of the school year. In recent years the district had scheduled the first day of school on the Tuesday after Labor Day, partially to accommodate a summer construction schedule on the Miller-Driscoll renovation project, which is now complete. Deciding to return to a before-Labor Day start was due, in large part, to how long the 2017-2018 school year extended to the last possible day in June, after the district also had a high number of snow day closures. In addition, school officials were forced to use part of April vacation to make the minimum number of school days required by the state. Many parents, students and teachers were unhappy with how late the school year ended–and how short the summer break that followed felt.
Other changes reflected in the new calendars include:
- school will be closed the Wednesday before Thanksgiving; previously students attended on a shortened day schedule
- an additional day for February recess
- two additional early-release days for professional development (Wednesday, Feb. 12, and Wednesday, Mar. 11)
- more flexible delayed start-time plans: 1-hour and 3-hour delays are now options in addition to existing 2-hour delays, to give Superintendent Kevin Smith more alternatives to closing school for bad weather
The calendar also now lists emergency closing make-up days, and the impact they would have for the scheduled last day.
Board of Education chair Christine Finkelstein did say not everyone agreed with each change or feature of the calendars, but that the final schedule reflects compromise on everyone’s part.
“We did receive comments from the public about this and every single one had a different idea on how the calendar should be amended. We read everything and we listen to what everyone had to say,” she said. “I want everyone to understand the calendar is very much a compromise between what we perceive as the preferences of the community and academics and our teachers.”
Finkelstein used Columbus Day as an example. “For as long as I’ve been on the Board people will say, ‘Why do we have school on Columbus Day?’ The answer is, it’s a compromise with our teachers’ union. They’ve given us something else we wanted, so we have a professional development day on Columbus Day.”
For the 2019-2020 school year, the planned last day of school will be Friday, June 12, 2020.
Finkelstein had another reminder for the community about what the calendar represented.
“Please know there is no such thing as a perfect calendar. Instead we build a document that best meets the needs of academics and hopefully it doesn’t inconvenience our families too much. But keep in mind it is a compromise,” she said.
2019-2020: Wilton Public Schools 2019-2020 Calendar
2020-2021: Wilton Public Schools 2020-2021 Calendar