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School Board Scraps Part of Thanksgiving Week Off: 2 Make-Up Days Scheduled That Week

| October 18, 2016

Two of the five days the school district and students lost to Hurricane Matthew will be made up during Thanksgiving week. See the fuller calendar below.

Two of the five days the school district and students lost to Hurricane Matthew will be made up during Thanksgiving week. See the fuller calendar below.

Hurricane Matthew continues to claim victims, this time in the form of days off for students and faculty in Flagler County schools.

The Flagler County school district and its students were looking forward to a week off at Thanksgiving. This year had finally restored that week off, after previous years had truncated the time off to half a week to accommodate a schedule starting late in August.

Now, that week off will be scrapped again: the school board Tuesday evening voted to use the Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week, November 21 and 22, to make up for the days lost to Hurricane Matthew. Two other days will be made up in march and April, on less sensitive days, though one of them, March 10, falls on the Friday immediately before the week off for spring break, and is usually a low-attendance day as many families, if not faculty and staff, opt to start their break early.

The board voted for the changes, 4-1, with Janet McDonald in opposition.

The district lost four days to Hurricane Matthew, and one day to Hurricane Hermine earlier in late August and early September, for a total of five lost days. By law, “we have to have 180 days of school or 900 hours of instruction,” Superintendent Jacob Oliva said. “We missed five days of school which means we won’t have 180 days.” For students on a block schedule in high school he said, the five lost days “is the equivalent of 10 days of instruction.” Simply adding five days at the end of the year “would be a disservice to those students.”

The district made up the first of those five days on Oct. 14, soon after Matthew passed through. That was supposed to have been a teacher work day.

But for students across the district, end-of-course exams make it critical to have as many instructional days scheduled before those exams, which means that just adding five days at the end of the school year, in May and June, was not an option. Adding a minute or two to each period was not an option, either, Oliva said, because it wouldn’t have been meaningful instructional time that benefits the students, as full instructional days do.

The district’s calendar committee met and, in School Board member Andy Dance’s words, “agonized” over the issue. There were many options, but few logical options that benefited students—as opposed to vacation schedules and desire for time off. “We went through this like a chess game,” Vern Orndorff, the deputy superintendent, said. “This is the best scenario under the situation that we have, to support statutes, the teachers and our students.”

“None of the options are the best, and when we look at what is the best we think this is the best option for our students and our families,” Oliva said.

Board members discussed the issue with a little agony of their own. “These are the kinds of situations I drive staff nuts on, trying to find that alternate,” Dance said. “I had a ton of input on social media trying to come up with alternates, and like Superintendent Oliva said, there’s probably not a good solution, somebody is suffering when you go one way or the other. The focus has to be on what’s good for the students.”

Colleen Conklin, who chairs the board, said the change is in response to an historic storm. But she said the discussion revealed a couple of issues that the calendar committee should address next. “I know in the past we used to identify possible hurricane days,” Conklin said, recommending that such days be restored. “We’ve kind of been spoiled, we haven’t had any kind of situation in a long time.” Just as notably, she said, the difficulties over the calendar show to what extent the Flagler school district in particular is down to the strict minimum on instructional hours, robbing it of the ability to build more flexible time through the year without having to drastically alter the calendar. In other words, b y adding a few hours of instructional time along the way, as a norm, the district could in the future more easily forego some make-up days without violating the law, or falling below the 900-hour minimum.

In Flagler, Conklin said, “we are down to the minute. At some point we need to have a conversation, and obviously it’s going to entail the budget, but we need to have a conversation on instructional time for middle and high school.”

See the full new school calendar below. It is no longer a draft, as it was approved by the board tonight.

Revised 2016-17 school calendar.

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84 Responses for “School Board Scraps Part of Thanksgiving Week Off: 2 Make-Up Days Scheduled That Week”

  1. Nancy Nally says:

    Just another example of why these high stakes exams school kids are being subjected to are evil and do a disservice to kids education – the schedule had to be planned not for what was best for the district’s families, but to accommodate the exams.

  2. Lauren Hyde says:

    So they couldn’t add days at the end of the year due to block classes, but 2 of the days are after the end of first semester and those in block classes will be in different classes anyway? That does not make sense!!

  3. Andrea Horne says:

    Perfect! Never understood why they got a full week off for turkey day anyways

  4. Good. Two less days to pay for babysitting

    • Some families actually want to spend time together. School is not a replacement for a babysitter!

    • When kids don’t go to school most parents has to pay for day care or babysitter. People work you know…

    • Marta Abdusattarov , yes I work, I know. I also know that I planned quite long ago for that week knowing my child would mot be in school.

    • We all would like to be with our kids, we dont think school is a replacement for babysitting but not all of us are lucky or privileged enough to take time off from work all those days, nor can we afford a baby sitter.

    • That is why I plan my vacation time during school breaks. I am sure I am not alone there. I am sure the schools are going to be somewhat slim now during those 2 days.

    • It’s just You. Most people still has to work. It’s not a holidays when everything is closed stores, restaurants, banks etc . Write a note and ask for school work to be done at home if it’s such a big problem. Don’t rave cuz pleasing one person may screw everyone else.

    • Terrah Catherine Books I don’t think it’s fair to insinuate that Marta is somehow less of a parent than you because she is unable to take the full week of thanksgiving off. Perhaps she uses most of her PTO in the summertime, it doesn’t really matter. The amount of PTO time a working parent has is irrelevant to what kind of parent they are. Everyone is just trying their best for their family and sometimes that means doing something different than you. It’s fine to disagree but don’t make it personal.

  5. I am appalled at our school board! They did not care that the response was over-whelming and negative on social media. They still took our full week for Thanksgiving break away. So angry. So disgusted.

  6. No way….take a teacher day off. That is family time. No wonder these kids are so stressed out. Seriously?? That is my family time!! HELL NO!!

  7. Already have their summer vacation shortened…what the hell is your problem? Stretching these kids so thin because of your ridiculous testing!!! (Edited because someone said so…ooops, my bad! Thanks Lori Young….)

    • Lori Young says:

      *Ridiculous. This is exactly why kids don’t need to miss more school. We used to go from 7:50 am to 3:36 pm for 180 days. They are barely in school for 6 hours and come out as adults who cannot spell things like “ridiculous.”

    • My days and time are much more important than spell check…Lori Young, a lot of what is being taught in schools is useless and our kids will never need it. You are paying attention to spelling rather than noticing the time being taken away from our kids. We work long hours and then have to come home to our responsibilities…and factor in the time for our kids to be kids. Sorry don’t want mine to be arrogant, ignorant, robot, government controlled morons!

    • Here is another one for you..Mrs. smart Lori Young…I am a US Citizen who has spoken, read, and written in 3 different languages over the years meanwhile educating my kids. So pardon the hiccup!! I also work two jobs, cook, clean, and much more…so what exactly are you spewing? Find a better topic to criticize…Oh and by the way they’re in school for more than 7 hours a day AND…double check your math on how many school days. Apparently you have a lot of time on your hands….lol…

  8. This upsets me, some people might have already made vacation plans for Thanksgiving and might be going out of town. I’m not but I am upset for those that might be and now the kids have school and there is no week break.

  9. No big deal they have to make it up at some point.

  10. Melissa Roby says:

    Ain’t gonna happen…leaving for family trip the Saturday before they changed the schedule

  11. That’s ridiculous, how about you take a teacher planning day, since they have so many… Jason Rego

  12. Good luck getting subs for those 2 days!

  13. Totally disappointed. My family and I made plans to go away the week of thanksgiving.

  14. A lot of people have plans and can not get there money back is the school going to pay for that these testing are ridiculous anyhow it’s like they focus all year on how to take these test instead of really teaching them real history or english math

  15. Wow…I really thought they would have taken the teacher planning days. How can they not figure vacations might have been planned out of town and with family…4 to 1 was the vote??? Yeah those selfish four that are inconsiderate SMH

  16. I’m sorry but did any of you people complaining read the article??? They did take two days away from the Thanksgiving break and they did take away two teacher planning days. Those teachers do need those days to plan to teach our kids. Quit complaining!!

    • Nancy Nally says:

      The teacher planning days are a joke in the new calendar – there are THREE at the end of the year after the kids are already done now. They are only on the calendar because they are required to be there, not because they will be actually useful in that location.

  17. We already did to make plans. Why not just add few extra days to the end of school year?

  18. Do any of the board members recognize some parents are court ordered to exercise out of state court ordered visitations to the other parent based on these breaks? This is complicating for such parents and puts them in a situation where they could be in contempt of court in another state. Why not extend the last day of school out by a few makeup days? For those block classes and work that needs to be done why can’t it be done out of school? All the work is computer based it should be able to be done any place.

  19. After the storms in 2004 we were told that’s why we built in those 3 days off Thanksgiving week… for hurricane days- just in case

  20. I hope all the people complaining about high stakes exams are voting blue down the ticket. It is the republican legislature who supports those exams.

  21. My kids won’t be there. This town gets more stupid by the minute I swear to god. All because of money, going to ruin family time plans to make your dollar. These kids shouldn’t suffer for something that is out of their control. Especially since a lot of them are still dealing with the storms after math. REDICULOUS!!!!

    • Lori Young says:

      *Ridiculous. How about they stay in school and learn to properly spell words? School year is now ending in June rather than May and 3 days were taken from the teachers for teacher planning which means getting last minute grades in for kids who are being pulled for week long vacations and have to make up work.

    • In my opinion they are ready go too long as it is. Let alone now butting into family time. Both of my children are straight A honor roll students thank you. Excuse me if I’d like to spend time with my children I don’t want to spend hours every night doing homework and have their summer vacation and holiday vacations taken away and now it is being taken away so that the school can make more Federal money because they get paid for every student everyday that they are there. Guess they’ll just have to lose a couple $1000 then. And the teacher planning days are a joke we never got days off for teacher planning so they could do grades they’re quite capable of doing them just like our teachers were quite capable of doing them with bigger classrooms. And as far as the makeup work goes my children won’t have any makeup work they’re court ordered to be in another state so therefore they can’t mandate makeup work. I’m sorry if you don’t like that too damn bad.

    • Lori Young says:

      Mine are straight A and gifted. I make it a point to be with them as they do their homework… oh and we have family time every single day. If you aren’t. you need to re-evaluate what you are doing. Not sure what I’m doing that you aren’t, Guaranteed you went to school longer then, than your kids do now. At no point were we EVER out of school by 1:25 or 2:15 every day. I started school before 8 am and wasn’t released until almost 4 for 180 days. We did NOT have teacher planning days or week long Thanksgiving vacations. Maybe that’s why kids have zero work ethic now. Their mommies want to spend more time with them. Boo hoo. Suck it up buttercup. Stop whining about spending time with your kids and make the most of the time they do have. If YOU don’t like that, too damn bad.

    • Kids have always been in school for 180 days. Teachers have always had work days.

    • And you obviously have no idea how teaching has changed over the years. You’d quit your job if you had to do so much unpaid work outside of your scheduled work hours.

    • 1. Never said they haven’t always went 180 day, just said I feel it’s too long and that if that 180 days is cut short because of something not in a student’s control they should not be punished for it and made to make up that time. 2. Where I’m from NO teacher got a work day, they did ALL of their planning grading etc at night and on weekends. In fact I have 4 teaches in my family and 1 currently teaching who also doesn’t receive teacher work days. 3. I have seen the “unpaid work” these teachers do, and can say I absolutely would not and feel I’m doing twice as much “unpaid work” between the actual 2 jobs I have, owning my own business, raising 2 teenagers and a 10 year old and having to do the “teaching” they are supposed to receive at school at home because of the inadequate teaching and student attention from these teachers. Your preaching to the wrong one sweetheart.

  22. ORIGINALLY we only had 2 days for Thanksgiving that is enough considering in another 3weeks they’ll be off for 2more weeks. Let’s be reasonable.

  23. They are out more then they are in school. Good at least they will not be bored.

  24. Tessie Clark says:

    I heard St. Johns county schools won’t have to make up the days they missed for the hurricane.

  25. I may not agree with their decision but I do understand the reasoning. At least now the kids won’t have to have almost 3 weeks off at Christmas to come back and finish a couple days of the semester. I know my kids wont study over that long break. An earlier article said they’d work on a case by case basis for those with firm plans. I’m sure that will still be he case. Please no negative remarks regarding my opinion…..I for one have a family member with a terminal illness so my kids most likely won’t be there those days. I’ll get the work ahead of time and my kids can do that work while we’re gone.

  26. Why can’t we just come to school in Veterans Day

  27. David Moore says:

    Not happy as a parent and it will reflect when I vote!

  28. Jason Rego says:

    WHAT??? Who the hell is “VOTING” on this? That is something that should be determined by the parents. There are many families that plan vacations and many other activities based on that week and the Christmas break. Someone is going to have to answer to this idiotic choice

  29. Resident says:

    It is my belief that being in a state of emergency is a reasonable enough cause to forgo those days. It is bullshit that the students had to give up part of their summer in an effort to have the week off at Thanksgiving. Not to mention, anyone who has made vacation plans and will be going anyway for lack of refunds. I truly feel for the teachers, not only are they now required to work, but any vacation plans they had will now require them to take personal days. Starting the day a half an hour earlier would have been the most effective. I will be excited to learn how many students will actually attend those extra days. Kudos Flagler County Schools, you once again showed your asses. It’s quite impressive really.

  30. Bottom line….. The Calendar said they had a week off. We already planned our vacation for the whole week off. Soooo my kid won’t be there.

  31. Good dont have to pay too much for extended day lol

  32. Dan Norton says:

    Totally in favor of this… I’m shocked so many people aren’t, but I get it for those who already made travel plans. And for those who ask “why don’t they just take the teacher workdays?” — two things: first, they did! …and second, teachers only have a few per year; one was last week and got taken away already, and teacher workdays really are needed to keep up with all the stuff required nowadays. I work in the Flagler school district and see first-hand how stressed the teachers are. Flagler school calendars don’t have much extra time built into the schedule to plan for disasters; when they happen, sacrifices need to be made. A full week at Thanksgiving is kind of ‘built in’ leeway for just this scenario.

  33. what’s funny is people were complaining when the kids had off because of Matthew, now they are complaining cause they have school. Why do these people vote?? Because as citizens, you voted them into these seats that allow them to vote.

  34. I’m rather disappointed in the overall response to this article… by PARENTS none the less!

    If there is a matter of required travel plans you can still write a note for your child have have them excused for Thanksgiving break. But the same lot of you who are complaining about this new schedule will be the ones saying schools aren’t doing their jobs!! Unbelievable! Do what you have to do and let your child incur the attendance issues. Don’t make the majority struggle for your personal plans.

    To this date I know very few occasions where the entire week is given off. You have some time to plan still. Stop being so negative and remember kids come first!

  35. I get it , just wish they would take away from summer time instead of the holidays .

  36. If you have any concerns please go to the Flagler schools website and review the board meeting from last night regarding this issue. I am sure that all questions and concerns will be answered.

  37. Justin Case says:

    Great! We planned a vacation that week that is non refundable! Where can I send the bill for the trip we have to cancel? The four board members can split the costs for me!
    This school system down here is so messed up! The school board is NOT working in the “real world”!
    Just remember folks to vote all the idiots out!

  38. joanne says:

    Leave it to our board to take away Thanksgiving. Hope they have fun with a lot of abstinence, and finding subs for all the teachers not there.

  39. Old School says:

    Kids these days are so pampered. When I was a kid we didn’t even get Thanksgiving day off. We had to run home and eat our turkey dinner on our 30 minute lunch break and then get our butts right back to class. We had to walk 11 miles in the snow with no shoes and it was up hill both ways. This country has gone to all to hell. Make America great again!

  40. vlok says:

    @Bobby C So just to clarify, you think teachers should do the grading, report card prep at night and on the weekends? I am not sure why teachers should have to do all those hours for FREE. I can’t imagine that others feel that is acceptable. Most businesses do not do their work on the off time. I do not know of any nurses, bankers, garbage men etc who are expected to just go to work when they are not on the clock. I can’t imagine hourly workers who punch out and then don’t leave for a few hours. So, teachers hours are 7.25 a day, that is what they get paid for and that is when they should work. Do they? Most do not and are not paid “overtime”. They are paid a salary that according to contract is specific to number of hours per school day. You are way out of line.

  41. woodchuck says:

    I am sure the school board will be off-well they are off most day”s anyway.

  42. Pay Attention says:

    People who are complaining about trips being ruined because of this decision need to understand that those days during Thanksgiving break have always been planned hurricane make-up days. When you plan a trip during that time, you are taking a risk that if a hurricane comes through, your students will have to make them up during that week.

  43. Katie Semore says:

    Many of these postings reveal what the problems are in getting our children properly educated. I can’t believe that some feel the children are being punished by going to school or that the school year is too long. In other countries, where they are educating their children and then Sending them to the USA via work visas and taking jobs because our kids aren’t capable of filling the positions, go to school year round. The primary responsibility of a parent after caring for and loving their children is to see that they are educated and capable of caring for themselves and becoming responsible adults and productive members of society. When parents don’t value and respect the education system, neither will the kids.

  44. vlok says:

    I could not agree more with Katie S.- someone referred to the children “suffering” at school for those two days.That is a very poor choice of words. This mentality is what gets passed down to some children which then leads to disinterest, lack of respect and poor attitudes. Magically, it becomes the teacher’s fault. Education should be one of the primary responsibility of the parents. I also agree that other countries have so much less than some of the unappreciative American parents that are complaining. BTW, these days were always marked as possible hurricane days- so why would you plan a vacation and risk losing your money? I think I already know the answer.

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