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The Shorter Winter Break: A No-Go?

Remember Hurricane Sandy? The storm that kept the majority of the Northeast region out of school for two weeks?  The reason that Friends Academy has school Thursday, December 20 and Friday, December 21?  Although this “problem” is relatively small compared to the repercussions felt by cities hit hard by the super storm, the opening of school this Thursday and Friday is causing controversy in the Friends Academy community.

Many students and parents are questioning why the added days are necessary, given that Friends Academy is a private school with no legal day requirement.  The major reason for the addition is that classes must make up the missed days of work in order to be prepared for end of the year exams.  Another reason is that families pay a lot of money for private school and deserve to get their money’s worth of the school year.

Mr. Morris addressed this quandary by stating, “After we lost 9 class days, we knew we had to gain back as many as we could during the school year, not in June when they are not productive for anyone.  When I decided to pull back the days from December and April breaks, we knew that some students would not be able to be here…I do appreciate the efforts families have made to adjust to the changes in the calendar.”

The question of whether students will actually show up is a bigger worry for the administrators and teachers in the community. Mrs. Schoman had asked parents of students who will not be attending school these days to e-mail her.  She explained, “We recognize that some families were unable to change previously made travel arrangements and will consider absences due to this as ‘excused.’ Students are however responsible to let their teachers know ahead of time and if possible make up work before leaving.”  Teachers have been advised not to give tests on these days; however, students who miss class are required to complete their work in a timely fashion.

Students and parents alike are upset with the addition of school days, especially because many have flights booked that are nonrefundable. Some who are missing school due to these scheduling issues complain that it adds undue stress when they have to make up the work. The turnout of students in attendance will be interesting to track, but hopefully the holiday dress down day on Friday, December 21 will encourage students to come to school and display their holiday spirit!

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