Administration To Reinstate 10-Day Thanksgiving Break In Draft of ’06-’07

Thanksgiving vacation will be extended to ten days for the 2006 – 2007 academic calendar, after an abbreviated six day break for the past two school years. Since the 2004-2005 school year, the administration had decided to include classes on Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week to fulfill the criteria of required teaching days per year. According to Dean of Studies Dr. Margarita Curtis, the administration decided to lengthen the vacation because families prefer a longer Thanksgiving vacation and to “make travel less taxing.” The administration realized that it was possible to have the same number of teaching days without imposing a shorter Thanksgiving break on students and their families. Students, especially international ones, have responded positively to the longer Thanksgiving break. A resident of Vancouver, British Columbia, Sara Ho ’08 said, “[The extra time] gives me an actual chance to go home and enjoy my [break]. I think the long Thanksgiving break should be kept for future years because it gives students a chance to go home after the long fall term.” Laura Minasian ’07, a resident of San Francisco, California said, “The longer Thanksgiving vacation will allow the students who live far away to enjoy the break without spending the majority of the time traveling.” Reflecting on the longer break and its benefits, Peter Schock ’08 said, “Two out of the six days were spent in the plane and the vacation was basically useless because you only spent four days at home. The way it was this year, I would have rather had a longer winter break and skip Thanksgiving.” Although students will benefit from a longer vacation, faculty will still have to attend three and a half faculty development days, beginning on Monday of Thanksgiving break. The extra faculty days will allow for the discussion and organization of the proposed 150-day calendar in the 2007-2008 academic year. Dr. Curtis said, “The school felt that it was important to have time to discuss issues on the table.” During Thanksgiving vacation this past year, faculty discussed how to most effectively divide the school year between vacation and teaching days. In order to fill the quota of 150 days with a ten day Thanksgiving break for the 2007 – 2008 school year, the administration must choose whether to begin classes before Labor Day or extend classes into early June. According to Dr. Curtis, over the past two years, the faculty and administration were aware of students’ and parents’ preference for a longer Thanksgiving break, but were not able to extend it because of the required number of teaching days. Dr. Curtis said, “It had become an understanding that the Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week were important [for teaching].” The additional days proposed by Head of School Mrs. Barbara Landis Chase in order to lengthen the school year to 150 days will not be added to the calendar until the 2007-2008 academic school year. Dr. Curtis said, “We know the envelope [is] 150 days. It is what is in the middle that needs to be discussed and finalized.”