School board made calendar decision carefully

To the editor:

The Board of Education approved the 2015-16 school calendar at its April 7 meeting after much discussion during two public meetings. Since then, several people have expressed concerns regarding the calendar. Those concerns are centered on the placement of the traditional two-week spring break during the second and third weeks of March. This letter is an effort to communicate with the community the reasons why this decision was made.

First, there is a cultural tradition that spring break in Lake Placid needs to be two weeks. Since we depend on a tourist economy, the only time families can take vacations together is during this vacation period. The teachers’ contract in the 1990s reflected that tradition and guaranteed a two-week break. The school district is still contractually tied to that guarantee.

Secondly, and the main reason for the problem, is that the state changed its testing schedule. The first three weeks of April are now designated for administration and scoring of the grade 3 to 8 state tests. Week one is reserved for ELA testing, week two is reserved for math testing and ELA make-ups, and week three is used for scoring the tests. The school district is required by law to make a “good faith” effort to administer these tests to all students in a manner that gives them the best chance of doing well. With the high stakes associated with the test outcomes, the school board did not feel it was in the best interest of students to bring them back to school after a two-week break and immediately place them in a testing situation.

The Board of Education determined that this is the best solution for a difficult situation. We will continue to work on the problem.

Sincerely,

Mary C. Dietrich, president

Lake Placid Central School District

Board of Education

Lake Placid