NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

February 5, 2014

Port schools to start Sept. 4 next fall

NEWBURYPORT — Despite expressed reservations from some members, the School Committee voted 6-1 Monday to accept the proposed school calendar for 2014-15.

Under that calendar, the next school year will begin on Thursday, Sept. 4, for students. A staff development day for teachers takes place on Sept. 3. The projected final day of school, not taking into account makeup days for snow, is June 18.

Superintendent Susan Viccaro brought forth a draft for next year, as well as two drafts for 2015-16, saying she wanted to “give parents and teachers the opportunity to plan two years ahead.” The possibility of voting on whether to approve the 2015-16 calendar was discussed, but on the recommendation of committee member Nick deKanter, it was decided that a closer survey of teachers and parents was needed before voting two years ahead.

As for next year’s calendar, the main trouble spot for some committee members, as well as parents, exists with the amount of time set aside — mostly through early release days — for professional development among teachers and staff. Critics of the early release days argue that they’re disruptive and valuable education time is being taken away from the students.

“I understand the difficulty early release days pose for parents, especially, but I feel strongly that professional development is a critical service we need to provide for our educational staff,” Viccaro said.

A total of 10 early release days (one each month) and one full day for staff development are scheduled after the school year begins on Sept. 4.

Assistant Superintendent Angela Bik added that professional development leads to more effective collaboration among teachers, which is a highly stressed element of the state’s Common Core curriculum.

Both deKanter and committee member Bruce Menin talked about the possibility of providing educational-based activities for students in order to compensate for the classroom time lost during the early-release days. Committee vice chairwoman Cheryl Sweeney, a retired teacher, said it was important to provide information that helps the public understand just how beneficial professional development is for both the staff and the schools as a whole.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Port Pics
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Special Features