BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The board of education voted to change the 2016-2017 calendar to add two days on to the school year, moving graduation back by two days, and cancel school on Jan. 2 and April 27.
The change was necessary for two reasons, the first being that in the contract with the Bridgewater-Raritan Education Association, the district agreed to 181 days of school instead of the previous standard of 180.
In addition, the calendar originally had Jan. 2, 2017, as a school day, but it is actually a federal holiday because New Year’s Day is on a Sunday. Therefore, that has to be a day off of school for students and teachers.
Now, instead of the school year ending on June 20 as was originally planned, the year will end on June 22, with graduation on that same day.
In addition, interim superintendent of schools Daniel Silvia recommended that the district be closed April 27, which is Take Your Child To Work Day.
“We usually see an increase in absences on that day,” he said. “It falls in the PARCC window, but we didn’t test on that day this year, so I will work around the schedule to avoid testing on that day.”
Silvia had originally said he was trying to avoid taking any days off between March 27 and May 19 because it is the PARCC testing window in 2017. But April 27 is a good day to be closed.
“The district still runs, but the absences are much higher in the lower grades,” he said. “It was brought to my attention by staff members, and I want to recognize that. I thought it was a good thing.”
The newly approved calendar also allows the superintendent to recommend opening school on Feb. 17 or April 27 if there is an excessive amount of inclement weather during the school year.
In addition, to account for the need for 181 days of school instead of 180, the district is offering only three days that school can be closed if snow days are not used. Those days are April 17, June 2 and June 9.