8 to 3: Are three weeks too long for winter vacation?

This is the December 27, 2021 edition of the 8 to 3 newsletter on school, kids and parenting. Do you like what you read ? Sign up to have it delivered to your inbox every Monday.

Hello, this is Deborah Netburn, Faith and Spirituality Writer for The Los Angeles Times, replacing your regular newsletter editor Laura Newberry. Happy Holidays to all !

As we enter week two of LAUSD’s epic three-week winter vacation, I experience an unwelcome episode of déjà vu.

I’ve never been a fan of the three week winter break. Who can take so much free time to take care of the children? But three weeks without school in a new wave of coronavirus? Even worse.

This year, my family expected a constant flow of out-of-town visitors to break the monotony of my two sons – and help keep them off screens. Then Omicron struck, and everyone canceled. So, for the second year in a row, we found ourselves looking at 23 days of unstructured time for boys and trying to figure out how to fill it out while still earning a paycheck.

(And, yes, I know all about winter camps, but I’ve always regretted having to spend the money to keep my kids occupied during winter vacation.)

When I was growing up on the East Coast, winter vacation was clearly defined as the time between Christmas and New Years with a day or two of padding around the edges. My husband, who grew up in California, remembers a good two weeks of winter vacation. (Her school district didn’t have any snowy days to face.) But I could still manage two weeks. What prompted LAUSD, the nation’s second largest school district, to decide to extend its break to a full three weeks?

It hasn’t always been that way. Not so long ago, Unified Schools in Los Angeles could choose their own start and end dates as long as they met the minimum number of teaching days and minutes, a spokesperson told me. by LAUSD. Some used a year-round schedule; others stuck to a traditional schedule, similar to the one I remember from my youth. Still others have adopted a schedule that postponed the start of the school year to early August, allowing students to complete their first semester final exams before taking an extended winter break.

LAUSD executives discovered there were several academic advantages to starting early and taking long winter breaks, the spokesperson said. This has alleviated absenteeism during the holidays, when some parents take their children out of school to travel out of state or out of the country, which is especially important for children of immigrants who wish to visit their families at home. abroad. This gave students more time for credit recovery programs, allowing them to catch up on failed classes online or in person. And it has given students taking advanced placement courses more time to prepare for these tests, which are given in mid-May.

For all of these reasons, LAUSD chose an early August start date when it adopted a district-wide school calendar starting with the 2012-13 school year.

The timing, however, remained controversial. In 2016, then-Supt. Michelle King suggested starting school in late August and cutting winter vacation to two weeks, but the school board rejected the proposal.

Following the devastating 2020-21 school year, the district surveyed parents and teachers to see if they wanted the school calendar to change to provide more teaching time for students. Of the parents who responded, 44% said they did not want any changes to the schedule, 29% said they wanted school to start two weeks earlier and 27% were in favor of starting school one day. week earlier and shorten the three weeks of winter vacation by one week.

The teachers’ union has conducted its own survey of members on the issue. About 75% of union members responded and 75% of those who opposed the extension of the school year. Needless to say, the timeline hasn’t changed, and here we are.

I did my own mini-survey with some of my friends who also have kids at LAUSD to see if they agree that the three week break is too long. The results, I was surprised to find, have been mixed. Some felt that the extended break was a delicious luxury that gave their family the much-needed time to relax and do nothing after the madness of the winter vacation. Others, like me, said they were at their wit’s end by the end of the second week.

I also understand that this year the extended hiatus could be a blessing, giving schools and health officials time to understand how they are going to deal with Omicron’s many unknowns, but that doesn’t mean I have to. ‘to like !

Whatever your position on the matter, I wish you a Happy New Year and a relaxing rest from your winter vacation.

Tragedy and Elevation

Every parent has nightmares about something horrible that happened to their children. But who would think their child would risk being shot while in a store dressing room trying on clothes? This is tragically what happened to 14-year-old Valentina Orellana-Peralta last week.

“If you knew her, you would love her.” That’s what a school board member said about Cara Schneider, a longtime LA teacher and administrator, who recently passed away. Judging by this obituary from my colleague Melissa Gomez, it seems correct. Who couldn’t love an educator who blew up The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun” once a week on the school intercom?

We found 13 things to do with kids this holiday season that won’t break the bank, and don’t ask me why he’s 13.

Do you like this newsletter?

Consider passing it on to a friend and support our journalism by becoming a subscriber.

Have you received this newsletter? Sign up here to have it delivered to your inbox every week.

What else are we reading this week

Joshua Lazerson was a student in Rose Sleigh’s AP English class at Torrey Pines High School. When she struggled financially and faced the loss of her home, he took action with other students to help her. But here’s the remarkable part: Lazerson took the Sleigh course in 1976. Like many other former students, he remembered her – she is now 97 years old – as one of those teachers who change the trajectory of people’s lives. “A number of people have said that Rose saved their lives. I have no doubts about that, “he said at the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The fourth and fifth years are considered critical time for English learners to become perfectly fluent. Today, LAUSD is partnering with Loyola Marymount University and the SEAL organization to train teachers to better develop the English skills of these students. EdSource.

Decreasing registrations Coachella Valley school officials are worried about a large loss of state funding. Desert sun.

Rural northern California high school launched investigation in the students’ social media accounts after photos began circulating online of students with swastikas and SS logos drawn on their chests. Sacramento Bee.

A small bilingual bookstore in San Francisco takes a stand to improve the portrayal of Latinos in children’s books. “We want our children to really love books and their own culture and understand that their country can offer them dreams. [of becoming] doctors, engineers and architects, ”said Jorge Argueta, a poet who co-owns Luna’s bookstore with his wife. Chronicle of San Francisco.

Give me your news.

Do you have any comments? Ideas ? Questions? Tips for the story? Send me an email. And stay connected on Twitter.

Comments are closed.