The Freehold Regional High School District Board of Education approved a revised version of the 2012-2013 calendar at a special meeting Monday night which includes four additional school days. The district needs to make up these four days, which were taken off due to Hurricane Sandy, in order to comply with New Jersey’s 180-day school year requirement.
“The state at this point in time is not even discussing the potential waiver of the 180-day requirement,” Superintendent Charles Sampson said. Sampson said the subject was broached on a conference call with New Jersey Commissioner of Education Christopher Cerf on Thursday, in which Cerf stated that it is “too premature to have those discussions”.
The original school calendar had three “inclement weather” days built in, but the extensive damage caused by Hurricane Sandy forced the district to take ten days off. Luckily, these days overlapped with some already scheduled school closures: the Election Day Professional Development Program and two days for the NJEA Convention.
The new calendar will now have school on the following dates:
• Monday, January 21, 2013 - Martin Luther King Day
• Friday, February 15, 2013 - President’s Day weekend
• Monday, February 18, 2013 - President’s Day weekend
• Monday, April 1, 2013 - Easter Monday
If the district has to close school due to bad weather this winter, portions of Spring Break vacation will be used to make up school days.
These make-up days are scheduled as (working backwards):
- Thursday, March 28, 2013
- Wednesday, March 27, 2013
- Tuesday, March 26, 2013
- Monday, March 25, 2013
The professional development days scheduled with an early dismissal for Dec. 5 and delayed opening for Dec. 6 have been cancelled and are now scheduled as regular school days. The Feb. 6 professional development day with a delayed opening has been rescheduled for Feb. 13; Feb. 6 will now be a regularly scheduled school day.
Additionally, the school closures have affected the district marking periods. In order to help out the teachers and the students with the loss of days in the first marking period, the first marking period has been extended to Wednesday, Nov. 28. This also allows the district to make sure that each marking period has a similar approximation of days.
The second marking period will take place from Thursday, Nov. 29 through Wednesday, Feb. 8.
Mid-terms for the second marking period are scheduled for:
- Tuesday, February 5
- Wednesday, February 6
- Thursday, February 7
- Friday, February 8, 2013
The third marking period is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 11 through Friday, April 19 and the fourth marking period is scheduled for Monday, April 22 through Tuesday, June 25.
Despite getting some flack for closing the district for so long, Sampson was steadfast in his decision to keep the schools closed. Manalapan High School and Freehold Township High School were without power the longest and Colts Neck High School lost power a second time after the Nor'easter struck.
"We didn't feel it was safe last week," Sampson said. "We cover 200 square miles - there were a number of blacked out traffic lights and things of that nature. And we bus 90 percent of our kids and we also have 3,000 or so 17 and 18-year-olds that drive to school and for us it was not the safe call to open schools. So, we chose not to and I'm glad we chose not to."