Written by Wendy Karpel Kreitzman Friday, 17 February 2012 00:00
The first day of school for the 2012-2013 school year for children in the Great Neck School District will be Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012. It had been anticipated that school would have to start the week before Labor Day due to a state mandated decision to end the Regents exams earlier in June. And with the state mandated number of school days determining state aid, Superintendent of Schools Thomas Dolan had the monumental task of “finding” a way to include the number of days while still maintaining a quality education and satisfying parents’ concerns over already planned vacations.
“We will be off all significant religious holidays and all student vacations,” Dr. Dolan announced at the Feb. 6 school board public action meeting, He added, too, that school for students would not begin until after Labor Day.Following a lengthy discussion at the Jan. 24 school board meeting, Dr. Dolan promised to readdress the calendar issue and have an answer at the Feb. 6 meeting. The initial calendar proposal for next year had children starting school the last week in August. When parents expressed great concerns over both already booked (and paid for) vacations and possible set-in-stone vacation days for parents over Labor Day and the prior week, the possibility of cutting other vacations was raised. Although no one seemed to want to cut the February break, they did prefer cutting that further away vacation instead of the early start to school. And some were equally adamant against cutting vacation days planned on the last two days of Passover (the end of the spring recess).
At the Feb. 6 meeting, Dr. Dolan explained that he was able to “find” an extra school day by negotiating with the Great Neck Teachers Association (GNTA) for teachers to come in for two Superintendent’s Conference days, Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 29 and 30. Originally only one such day was scheduled for that week, as the GNTA contract called for only one such day. These days will be for “staff development.”
Dr. Dolan emphasized how “helpful” the district’s teachers have been in agreeing to two August Superintendent’s Conference days instead of one. Without this agreement the school district would have been forced to open school for the children in August. “They (the teachers) recognized the problem and worked with the district,” Dr. Dolan said, expressing great appreciation.
However, both Dr. Dolan and Board of Education President Barbara Berkowitz cautioned that this solution is “for one year only … only for next year.” They both stated that, though they “found” the days this time, the following year could well carry the same early Regents exam end date (and thus an early school ending) and resulting vacation day issues. Should this problem occur again, Dr. Dolan promised that he would work with the “parent leadership” as he had done this time.
Dr. Dolan said that with the new calendar, children would meet the state standard and be in school 180 days; teachers would be in school three extra days.
Once the school board formally approved the 2012-2013 school calendar, Dr. Dolan once again noted that the number of school day issues and resulting vacation day problems could easily come to the forefront again next year. The early closing date was forced by the early Regents exam schedule, a new schedule brought about by New York State’s new teacher evaluations. “It’s the APPR (Annual Professional Performance Review) that is causing all this,” Dr. Dolan explained. And he encouraged parents to write to state officials protesting the situation.
2012-2013 GNPS Calendar
Opening day for the 2012-2013 school year for students in the Great Neck School District is Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012. Teachers return for two Superintendent’s Conference Days on Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 29 and 30, 2012.
School will be closed for Rosh Hashanah on Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 17 and 18, 2012. School will be closed again for Yom Kippur on Wednesday, Sept. 26.
In October 2012, school will be closed for Columbus Day on Monday, Oct. 8.
For November 2012, the school will have several closings. School will be closed for students for a Superintendent’s Conference Day on Tuesday, Nov. 6. School will be closed again for Veterans Day on Monday, Nov. 12. The Thanksgiving Recess is Thursday and Friday, Nov. 22 and 23.
In December 2012, school will be closed for the Holiday Recess from Monday, Dec. 24, 2012, though Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. Students and teachers return to school on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013.
School is closed for Martin Luther King Day on Monday, Jan. 21, 2013.
The Winter Recess is Monday, Feb. 18 through Friday, Feb. 22, 2013. Students return to school on Monday, Feb. 25, 2013.
Spring Recess is Monday, March 25 through Tuesday, April 2, 2013. School reopens on Wednesday, April 3, 2013.
On Thursday, May 16, 2013 there is a Superintendent’s Conference Day for elementary schools only.
School is closed for Memorial Day on Monday, May 27, 2013.
The last day of school for the 2012-2013 school year is Friday, June 21, 2013.
For the 2012-2013 school year, there are 183 school days (including days when only teachers report to school.)