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Mendon Upton School Committee Approves 2016/2017 Calendar

The Mendon Upton School Committee approved the 2016/2017 school calendar during their January 25 meeting after a brief discussion on the Good Friday release day and changes other local districts have made to their school calendars.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Maruszczak presented the proposed calendar to the Committee, saying that the new calendar had "no radical departures from a typical MURSD (Mendon Upton Regional School District) calendar."

The first day of school for students will be Wednesday, August 31, and teachers will be reporting to school on Monday, August 29 with a teacher professional development day scheduled for August 30.

Because 2016 is a presidential election year, Maruszczak told the Committee that they will be switching a professional development day to be held on November 8 so that the schools will be available for the towns to use as voting locations.

The last day of school for the district would be June 22 if all 5 built-in snow days are used.

Before going to a vote, School Committee Chairman Phil De Zutter asked Maruszczak if the administration has discussed removing the full release day on Good Friday (in 2017 Good Friday is April 14, which is the Friday before April vacation would start), as the district does not recognize any other religious holiday with a release day. "I don't feel strongly one way or another, I am just wondering if it was discussed," he said.

Maruszczak replied that the Good Friday full release day was a rollover of what has been a traditional release day for many years, and over two-thirds of neighboring districts have kept the day as a release day in place.

De Zutter also commented about past discussions of combining February and April vacations into one winter vacation, and asked if that was taken into consideration.

Maruszczak said that he recently met with over a dozen other Superintendents in the Blackstone Valley and of those, only two districts have made any switched to their school vacations. Sutton, according to Maruszczak, had decided to take some days away from February vacation and instead will have two long weekends in order to give students a two week break during the holidays.

Bellingham has also decided to make some changes to their February vacation for the 2016/2017 calendar in concern of the number of snow days they district has experienced over the last few years.

Maruszczak said that they plan to get feedback from the two districts to see if it was a positive move before making any recommendations for the MURSD.

"No one else in the state [has moved to a one-week winter break]," said Maruszczak. "To execute that, it should be done at a minimum regionally, but preferably at a state level." Maruszczak also cautioned that it was sometimes an emotional topic when the discussion happens in the middle of a winter that may have a high number of snow days.

After the brief discussion, the 2016/2017 MURSD School Calendar was approved unanimously.


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