Dear SWR parents and guardians:

Now that hurricane Sandy has spent her fury, everyone is beginning to attend to the disruptions left in her wake.  I am writing to alert you to potential changes to our instructional calendar for the remainder of the 2012-2013 school year.  

As everyone knows, students lost 5 school days due to the storm, and this is our problem. We are required by state law to hold a minimum of 180 days of instruction—which include both instructional days and professional development days.  Our 2012-2013 school calendar only has 2 days built-in to cover storm-related school closings before we hit the minimum limit of 180.  

Now, since we must make up 3 days of instruction already, even before winter sets in, I think it is important for everyone to know how this unusual situation will be addressed.  First, the state legislature has not given the State Education Department (SED) the authority to reduce the minimum number of school days required (180).  There is some indication it may do so in the near future.  However, even if the legislature allows SED to reduce the minimum number of school days, it is still unclear whether districts will be required to use their vacation days before being permitted to hold fewer days of instruction.  Second, since in the recent past the legislature has responded to other natural disasters by first requiring districts to use vacation days before being allowed to hold fewer than 180 days of instruction, we should all be alerted to the likelihood that we will have to use some of our vacation days before we will be allowed to hold fewer than 180 days of school.  

Here is how we will handle the real possibility that the number of vacation days will be reduced this year in order to deliver the 180 days of instruction:

• Monday, April 1st will now be a school day.

• Friday, February 22nd will now be a school day.

• Thursday, February 21st will now be a school day.

• Wednesday, February 20th will be a school day should we have a 4th school closing this winter.

• Tuesday, February 19th will be a school day should we have a 5th school closing this winter.

• Wednesday, March 27th will be a school day should we have a 6th school closing this winter.

• Monday, March 25th will be a school day should we have a 7th school closing this winter.

Please note that these changes to the school calendar are provided now to enable you to begin planning for the February and March breaks, but there is still a chance that the legislature will not require us to make any changes to our current calendar.  I will inform everyone of any changes the legislature may make in coming days.


Steven R. Cohen, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools, SWR CSD