With a Monday holiday this week and a Friday off for students to make time for professional development, the prospect of more four-day weekends was contemplated by a district wide survey recently conducted at Mount Greylock Regional's three schools.
iBerkshires.com  reports Mount Greylock's director of academic technology reported on results of a survey to gauge support for revising the school calendar to consolidate the February and April vacation weeks into a single week off in March. Eileen Belastock said 457 parents and 95 teachers and staff responded to the survey, which was conducted online and in hard copies that were available at all three schools' start-of-year open houses.
School committees in the district for years have toyed with the idea of eliminating one of the two vacation weeks in order to lessen the need to extend the school year later into June because of snow days. Grady pointed out Friday that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's "Blizzard Bag" initiative, which was intended to allow students to complete school work at home on snow days, is off the table since the commonwealth has abandoned a short-lived initiative that was discussed but never tried at Mount Greylock's three schools.
This fall's regional survey found a split within the community, with 59 percent of the district's parents favoring a new approach to the calendar and 53 percent of the faculty and staff opposed. School Committee Chairwoman Regina DiLego noted that faculty and staff members may have children going to school in other districts and, therefore, would face hardship if the Mount Greylock schedule was radically out of line with other schools in the area.
Another consideration: the hardship on families who currently rely on school vacation week programs offered in places like PIttsfield that would not be available during a March vacation week to accommodate a single "outlier" school district.
School Committee member Dan Caplinger said that given the close survey numbers both for and against a new calendar, any changes would require more explanation and education by the committee if it decided at some point to go down that road.

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