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Saturday Classes to Help Offset Sandy Missed Days

MLK, Presidents Day and a half-day on a Saturday in April among Parsippany make-up days.

Parsippany public school students will have to spend two holidays and a Saturday in the classroom, thanks to a decision made by the township Board of Education at its Thursday night meeting.

The board voted to approve the school district calendar committee's recommendations for making up instructional days lost because of Superstorm Sandy and its aftermath.

Three of the eight days were allotted as "snow days" in the original 2012-13 district calendar. Two more days were made up last Thursday and Friday—those days had been scheduled as off days due to the New Jersey Education Association teachers' convention, however that Atlantic City gathering was cancelled due to Sandy's battering of the resort town.

That left three days to make up, Superintendent of Schools LeRoy Seitz said.

"No matter what we do, we know no one will be happy," he said. "But the committee did come up with options and a consensus on what they would like to do. We realize that some will not be happy. Some will say they've already made commitments. But we have to make up [the days]."

The calendar committee, made up of district stakeholders—teachers, parents, students, teachers, custodians, secretaries and staffers—came up with a plan to hold a full day of classes on Monday, Jan. 21 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day), another full day on Monday, Feb. 18 (Presidents Day) and a half-day on April 13, which falls on a Saturday.

Seitz said this plan would allow spring break to remain intact and allow teachers and students a rest after a long instructional period. He added that should there be future winter weather events that close schools, they will come out of spring break, starting with Friday, April 19.

The superintendent said the idea of extending the school year into the summer was considered, however, doing so, he said, would have caused problems for prescheduled events such as Project Graduation.

Seitz said that unless the state Department of Education decides otherwise, the 180 instructional days mandated by law must be fulfilled, which necessitates the schedule changes.

Prior to the board members' vote, it was decided to change the Saturday date to April 6, so as not to cause scheduling problems for high school sports teams.

The final vote to open schools on Jan. 21, Feb. 18 and April 6 was passed 8-1, with board member Gary Martin casting the only dissenting vote.

Virginia Nussbaum November 16, 2012 at 01:14 PM
While I understand the children need to make up days there is no reason a Saturday needs to be one of those days take days away from there spring break we have taken days in the past years away from spring break and I am sure parents r well aware that this was going to happen as I was I will not send my child to school on a full or half day on a Saturday the weekends are for family time
steve revette November 16, 2012 at 01:43 PM
I agree 100 percent. The weekends are days for the kids.
Angelina November 16, 2012 at 02:04 PM
can't parents just decide their kid doesnt have to go to school that day ? i mean, i'd play sick.
Lindsay November 16, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Is going to school on a Saturday for the half day really going to hinder family time that much?
airman1968 November 16, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Well put Lindsay. It sounds like lazyness on the parents, they want to sleep in on the weekends
Carol Visoskas November 16, 2012 at 03:10 PM
The Department of Education needs to make some sort of exception in regards to making up these days. We haven't even gotten to Winter and snow days yet!
Patricia Bota November 16, 2012 at 03:33 PM
Won't this cause a problem with the Jewish religion and Saturdays being a holy day? Also, what about kids on sports teams and scheduled games?
Chris November 16, 2012 at 03:54 PM
I think people are overreacting. It's 4 hours, sports heads will have plenty of time to plan for the scheduling issue. They didn't want to take 1 day from spring break (Friday) yet, since enrollment would likely be very low due to vacations etc. Saturdays are usually sports days for many families. Enjoy the 4 hours to yourself and spend the rest of the day together talking about what the kids learned that morning! :)
g November 16, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Kids consider half a day school on Saturday: play time!
Parsippany Taxpayer November 16, 2012 at 05:00 PM
LOL -- American kids view school a bit different than kids in China and other parts of the world. Breaking news for those that missed it -- we are lagging many nations in education these days. Shoot I say give them off as they really don't need a good education anyway to get a job flipping burgers or working at Walmart all their lives. For all that you are going to pay for your kids to go to colleague I would think you would want to maximize on their academia before that stage of their life. Then again I don't have kids -- I just pay crazy taxes for your kids to get chauffeured to school on Saturday for 1/2 day of play time. One day my tax free contribution will stop though as living in Parisppany is not a lifetime dream of mine for sure...
Parsippany Taxpayer November 16, 2012 at 05:02 PM
I know I misspelled college and had a grammatical error in there -- I guess US public education didn't do me justice either.
steve revette November 16, 2012 at 05:23 PM
You must have went to school in Parsippany my friend. Parsippany Education= Terrible.
Parsippany Taxpayer November 16, 2012 at 05:44 PM
Steve -- the education, hospital system and taxes all leave something to be desired or as you say terrible... For what I pay I would at least expect them to take the garbage from my garage or put the garbage cans back instead of leaving them in the street or just not taking the garbage at all on many occassions. But hey we got our unions and high wages here if that counts for anything -- although those unions are partly to blame with JCP&L for the power taking 11 days to get back on. You just have to love NJ unions turning away nonunion line and tree workers during a crisis.
Adam Sonzogni November 16, 2012 at 05:57 PM
I am guessing that either they are acknowledging the fact that people already have vacations planned OR Thsi winter is expected to be very snowy, that they know spring break will be used up as well.
Adam Sonzogni November 16, 2012 at 05:58 PM
THAT is an awesome example to set to your children. Don't feel like goign to school or meeting other responsibilities, well let's just don't do it...
Adam Sonzogni November 16, 2012 at 06:00 PM
I think your religious question is a valid one! The sports now have ample time to schedule around it. But your priority is on sports and not their education?
Lindsay November 16, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Why does the Department of Education have to do something about this and make an exception? The law is that the students have to have 180 days of school. As a parent, you should want your children to receive all the education they deserve, whether it be on a week day or Saturday. I just don't get the complaining. EVERYONE was inconvenienced by Sandy and now has to go through efforts to make up for lost time.
Michael Brancato November 16, 2012 at 09:39 PM
RC, that is simply not true. That was a nasty rumor circulated by anti-union activists and picked up by the news media: http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Non-Union-Utility-Crews-from-Alabama-Turned-Away-From-Helping-NJ-Sandy-Victims-176949061.html http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2012/11/union_official_denies_non-unio.html Not that it has anything to do with our schools or the days the children missed being made up. But hey, keep pushing your political agenda, I'm sure that's working out great for you.
Parsippany Taxpayer November 16, 2012 at 10:43 PM
Michael -- I am an independent voter (no party affiliation). Believe what you want but they turned crews away from PA also. The folks down there said that is ok though as they don't have time to be patted down and have plenty of work down there so if we want to stay in the dark up here that is fine by them. Believing NBC and Fox News is like thinking if you keep playing the lottery you are going to hit the millions and get to keep all of it to boot.
g November 17, 2012 at 03:13 PM
From the list of the 2012 Top High Schools Parsippany Hills from 50 in 2010 to 23 in 2012. Although Parsippany has shown great improved, how did this happen when Parsippany High School and 10 other schools—the district would not reveal which—failed to meet Adequate Yearly Progress benchmarks in Language Arts Literacy and Mathematics, according to Interim Curriculum and Instruction Director Ruth Anne Estler.? The answer is quite simple. You water down the Federal no child left beheind. The Obama administration announced that 10 states, including New Jersey, were granted waivers from having to adhere to federal No Child Left Behind standardized testing benchmarks. The waiver comes at a fortunate time for Parsippany. Eleven of the district's 14 schools did not meet federal Adequate Yearly Progress standards as of the end of the last school year. How do you get higher standing in the top schools in New Jersey? You water down the federal No Child Left Behind standardized testing benchmarks. It sure looks like manipulation. And Saturday will help our children?
aoc November 19, 2012 at 06:11 PM
I don't want to start a religious debate, but why do we get 3 days off in September every year for Jewish holidays. Parsippany is a multicultural town so why should the other religions not get days off eg for Diwali. Maybe these 3 days should be allocated between the religions. If Jewish parents want to keep kids home on their other holidays then that should be their decision.\ Also school has only just started in September and already right at the beginning of the school year we have to deal with cover days off for our kids!!!
g November 19, 2012 at 10:32 PM
"There is nothing more dangerous than the conscience of a bigot" [George Bernard Shaw]

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