Friday April 18, 2014

Longer spring break poses problem for Sun Peaks school

'We’ve got a ski school. We’ve got tennis programs. There’s a bunch of different things the children do'

A four-day week and longer spring break don’t go hand in hand, prompting Sun Peaks parents to ponder a couple of solutions for their school.

School district assistant superintendent Karl deBruijn met with the Sun Peaks elementary parent advisory council to discuss concerns about how a proposed two-week spring break will impact students.

Class is in session at the school four days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Parent Terrah Clement said the day is an hour longer than other schools to accommodate the shorter week.

There’s no gym at the school, so Fridays are typically spent doing some form of physical activity, Clement said Tuesday.

“We’ve got a ski school. We’ve got tennis programs. There’s a bunch of different things the children do,” she said. “It’s been successful.”

Parents are worried their children will lose that day of outdoor activity if the district adopts the longer break. Clement said instructional time could be added to three Fridays a year to accommodate the extra time off.

DeBruijn said two school calendars for Sun Peaks are being considered — one with the two-week spring break and one without.

The concern is how to set up an abbreviated school year when the province mandates so many instructional hours a year, said deBruijn.

“They aren’t necessarily wanting the two-week break, but they don’t want to be completely different from the rest of the district,” he said.

Trustees are expected to vote on whether or not to adopt the longer break at a meeting Jan. 13.

Meanwhile, district administrators still await official feedback from teacher and support staff unions when it comes to the extra week off.

Kamloops-Thompson Teachers’ Association president Jason Karpuk said there are concerns about loss of instructional time.

CUPE Local 3500 president John Hall said many of his members work part time and are worried about a loss of wages, adding that administrators are taking steps to mitigate that.

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