One of the frustrations that many parents have to deal with due to New Orleans’ unique charter system is juggling the different school calendars.
Because the various charter schools are allowed to create their own calendars, parents with children in different schools can sometimes face difficulty when it comes to holidays, especially around Mardi Gras. For example, this week, some schools will have early release days on Wednesday and Thursday, while others will follow a normal schedule. Some have Friday off, but not all.
It’s the same with weekly early release days. Some schools have an early release day every Wednesday or Friday. Some don’t. For parents who have children enrolled in different schools, juggling the calendars can be both time-consuming and expensive.
At last week’s Orleans Parish School Board committee meeting, members of the New Orleans School Leader Forum and the Greater New Orleans Charter School Collaborative briefed board members on their efforts to align calendars for some common holidays. The two groups partnered together to create a list of common holidays.
- Independence Day
- Labor Day
- Fall Break
- MLK Day
- Mardi Gras
- Spring Break
- Memorial Day
The hope is that this will help schools across New Orleans align their calendars for about 75 percent of days off. Of course, since individual charter schools are still responsible for their own calendars, there will still be some differences.
One major difference likely to remain is professional development days for teachers and school staff. The other large variable is the dates set aside for state standardized testing. Depending on the computer equipment available, the number of students, etc., state testing can be done more quickly at some schools than others.
The common calendar effort will, no doubt, continue to evolve. But parents can be hopeful for at least some relief when it comes to school holidays.
Jenn Bentley is a writer and editor whose work has been featured in publications such as The Examiner, The High Tech Society, FansShare, Yahoo News, and others. When she’s not writing or editing, Jenn spends her time raising money for Extra Life and advocating for autism awareness.