Etiquette Hell

A Civil World. Off-topic discussions on a variety of topics. Guests, register for forum membership to see all the boards. => Trans-Atlantic Knowledge Exchange => Topic started by: kareng57 on November 06, 2011, 08:46:34 PM

Title: School vacation periods
Post by: kareng57 on November 06, 2011, 08:46:34 PM
People have touched-on this topic recently so I thought I'd start a new thread.  The issue is year-round schooling.

In most parts of North America, the school-calendar has followed the agrarian-calendar for the most part.  School goes from September through to mid June or the end of June, and then resumes in September.  100+ years ago, this made sense - the majority of the children lived on farms and were expected to be there to help with the harvest, although, in more northern areas, they could be needed through early September as well.  In any event, the local school-calendars accomodated this.

However, with increased urbanization, this is no longer relevant for most families.  I do know that in some areas there's been a movement towards more year-round schooling.  In some cases, it's simply due to space.  That means some schools (mainly high schools, from what I understand) are on a "multi tract" system.  Three-quarters of the students are in the building at any particular time; the others are on a three-week vacation period - so the school is able to accomodate 25% more students.  I'll admit that I have no experience with this sort of model.  In others, the school is single-tract.  That means that they have more frequent, and shorter, vacation periods - but it doesn't increase the school student capacity.

When the latter model was brought up with the provincial government about 15 years ago I honestly thought that it had some merit.  Students wouldn't get so restless as they often do after an 8-week vacation, and it could be more attractive to parents who couldn't possibly get any time off from their own jobs during summertime.  However, there was major parental opposition and it pretty much ended there.  (I was in favour of the idea locally, but no one paid attention to me... :-[)

At the same time, there was nothing preventing individual schools from trying this model, and a school in a neighbouring district has done this very successfully.  They still get the "standard" Christmas and Spring Break periods, but it's combined with shorter 3-week closures and the kids return at the beginning of August.  For both students and staff, this school has a waiting list.  I can understand the appeal for the staff at a standard-schedule-school - sure, getting July and August might seem great, but what if your spouse is the manager of a garden store?  He/she almost certainly couldn't get time off.  A modified-schedule school would be very attractive.

ETA: oops, I didn't really ask a question.  Is anyone here familiar with modified-school schedules that don't necessarily follow the agrarian-calendar?
Title: Re: School vacation periods
Post by: Judah on November 07, 2011, 10:13:15 AM
When my kids were in elementary school our school district had half the schools on a year-round schedule and half on a traditional schedule.  You could choose which school you wanted to attend, and the year-round schools had the highest enrollment.  There were four "tracks" to choose from so one track was always off-track (on vacation).  My kids' track had breaks in July, November, and March. We loved this schedule.

Unfortunately, do to shrinking budgets, the schools had to go to a traditional calendar with all the kids on campus at the same time.
Title: Re: School vacation periods
Post by: ncgal on November 07, 2011, 11:39:00 AM
My DD is on year around schedule.  She gets most of June and a few weeks of July off between school years and short breaks during the school year.  The only bad part of her track is that one of the track-out break falls in December, so her track-out break and Christmas break make for her having all of December off.  I choose this track anyway as it is the only one that gives them all of June off (well, except for maybe 2 days) and a few weeks of July.  The other tracks just have a few weeks off between grades. 

Hopefully she will stay on year around until she enters High-school  None of the high-schools here are on year around, only some elementary and middle school.

I like the year around track as it gives us more choices for vacation and not such a long summer break.  Her first track out is in September, so that still give us another "summer month" to hit the beach and other fun summer type places. 
Title: Re: School vacation periods
Post by: CakeEater on November 09, 2011, 05:14:07 PM
Wow - that's really interesting! As a (former) teacher, I think it would be a nightmare to keep track of, but as a parent, I think it would work really well.

I'm in Australia. It's different in each state, and I think Tasmania is very different, but mostly we have four terms of varying lengths (9 weeks-13weeks). It depends on when Easter is that year. There's a big break of 6 or 7 weeks for most of December and January, one week at Easter, and two weeks in both July and September.

Private schools often have extra weeks here or there because their school day often lasts longer. Very remote rural public schools sometimes have extra holidays as well to allow for travelling.
Title: Re: School vacation periods
Post by: Leafy on November 10, 2011, 02:06:20 AM
Following on from CakeEater - I am in Western Australia. The school year starts at the beginning of February. We have two weeks break in April (usually over Easter but not when it's in March), then two weeks break in July and two more in October. The school year finishes usually around the 17th of December, a week or so before Christmas. Summer holidays then last for about 6 weeks until school starts in Feb again.

Each term tends to be 10 weeks but this can vary - usually depending on Easter's placement. There are always 40 official weeks of school. Do other countries end up with 40 weeks of school in a year or does it vary? Or even other states in Australia?
Title: Re: School vacation periods
Post by: ncgal on November 10, 2011, 09:44:41 AM
here in NC, we go by days.  Not sure if all other states do the same.  I believe that the students are required to have 180 days a year where class is in session. So if they miss due to snow storms, hurricanes, etc, then they have to make those days up.  With the year around schedules, that means make up days are in Saturdays.  Yey....not!
Title: Re: School vacation periods
Post by: BabylonSister on November 12, 2011, 07:49:40 AM
The French school calendar is closer to the year-round system. The kids have about 7 or 8 weeks in the summer (July and August). School starts late August or early September. They have about a week off around Halloween/All Saints' Day, two weeks for Christmas, one and a half to two weeks off in the winter (usually February), and one and a half to two weeks in the spring. May is a Swiss cheese month with so many holidays, it might as well be another vacation.

To avoid roads being congested around school vacations, the country is divided into three school vacation zones, with slightly different vacation dates for each. That can make things a little tricky when you want your kids to spend the vacations with their cousins who live in a different area and may be in school when your own are off.

When I was a kid, we had school on Saturday mornings, but not on Wednesday. Saturday morning school is rapidly falling out of favor in elementary schools and the missing hours are made up by shortening some vacations. Some schools have Wednesday morning classes but it's very rare (traditionally, Wednesday morning is catechism time and the Catholic Church has put heavy pressure on the government to avoid school being in session that day.) Junior high and high school have the same vacations but have classes on both Wednesday and Saturday mornings.
Title: Re: School vacation periods
Post by: CakeEater on November 13, 2011, 04:43:17 AM
Wow - I find that really interesting! Did other workplaces and offices etc generally open Saturday morning?
Title: Re: School vacation periods
Post by: Steve on November 13, 2011, 04:53:35 AM
Here kids have 6 weeks in the summer (juli and august), they have  a week in the fall, 2 weeks for christmas, a week in febuari -march, a week in may and a few days for Easter and Pentecost.

As in France, we also have the country (The Netherlands that is) divided up in 3 zones with slightly different dates.

The wednesday afternoon is ususally free time, and no school in the weekend at all.
Title: Re: School vacation periods
Post by: cicero on November 13, 2011, 01:04:46 PM
In Israel:
Schools are public (religious or secular) or semi private or private. I think that most kids go to public or semi private. public schools are supposed to be free but they're not so free. may cost from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand per year.

School year runs from sept 1 for most schools (a month before the High Holidays for most religious schools) until June 20 (MS/HS) and June 30 (elementary). so the summer vacation is approximately 8 weeks. School week is sunday to friday (some schools run sunday to thursday).

other vacations are based on jewish or national holidays (dates fluctuate as it's based on a different calendar):
High Holidays (usually in sept/oct), 3 days for Rosh Hashana, 2 days for Yom Kippur and 8 days for Sukkot, all in a three week period. it's crazy. (many people, myself included) think the school year should start AFTER the holidays...

Hannuka (around christmas time)- i think they get 6 days.

Purim - Usually march - 2 days.

Passover - usually april - 8 days (although i think the vacation may be a bit more).

Memorial day and indepence day: 2 days, about 10 days after passover

Shavuot - 7 weeks after passover - 3 days.

Universities usually begin in october, usually a week after the high holidays are over. each semester is 14 weeks, and there is a break for mid term usually around feb and then the second semester runs till june.
Title: Re: School vacation periods
Post by: Kitty Hawk on November 14, 2011, 07:44:19 AM
Here in Germany we are similar to the other European countries mentioned.  Six weeks summer vacation, two weeks in the fall, 10-14 days over Christmas, two weeks at Easter.l

The summer vacations are staggered around the nation, with each Bundesland (state) on a slightly different schedule.  Then there is six weeks of school before the autumn break.

The autmun break, incidentally, is locally called "kartoffel ferien" or potato vacation.  Yup, it was so that the kids could go out in the field and help harvest the potatoes.

Title: Re: School vacation periods
Post by: BabylonSister on November 14, 2011, 10:08:46 AM
Wow - I find that really interesting! Did other workplaces and offices etc generally open Saturday morning?

Businesses are mostly like in the US: stores, post office, medical facilities and some banks are open on Saturday but most other businesses are closed.

I think Saturday morning school is disappearing because of the high number of single-parent or two-working parent families. They only get the weekend to spend time with their kids, and they also wish to sleep on Saturday morning. More and more kids were skipping school on Saturday morning and eventually, school districts started reshaping the school week.
Title: Re: School vacation periods
Post by: cabbagegirl28 on November 14, 2011, 05:42:19 PM
For my compulsory school, we had a week off for spring break, 2-3 days for Fall Break, 2 weeks for Christmas, 2 days (Thursday and Friday) off for Thanksgiving with a half day Wednesday, then summer was from the end of May to the first week in August.

For university, I begin school in the middle of August, have a 2 day Fall Break, a weeklong Thanksgiving Break, a 3.5 week Christmas Break, a 2 week spring break, and get out of school in the middle of May.
Title: Re: School vacation periods
Post by: kherbert05 on November 14, 2011, 06:42:53 PM
School can start the last week of full week of August and must end the first week of June. It must have 178 days. The districts can decide how to divide up the year beyond that.

My district has off