NPS Board of Education's Schedule Decisions are Discriminating Against Working Families!

NPS Board of Education's Schedule Decisions are Discriminating Against Working Families!

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Norwalk Parents started this petition to Norwalk Board of Education

Living in a City where decision makers do not take working family’s needs into consideration before making critical changes to things like the school schedule is not only frustrating, but with a pattern of behavior is discrimination.

Childcare and vacation camps are only offered when the majority of schools are not in session. Over the years having a vastly different schedule than surrounding towns has created a tremendous hardship for my family as well as other families in Norwalk as affordable childcare, or any childcare for that matter is not available for Norwalk Working Families

It came to our attention that during one of the busiest vacation weeks of the year (August 19 – 23) the Board of Education voted on another critical change to the NPS District Calendar.  This meeting should have taken place during the school year in order to allow significant input from parents, teachers and administrators!

The Board of Education has received letters, emails and input over the years regarding the significant differences of the NPS calendar to all of the other surrounding towns and cities in which working parents, teachers and administrators rely on the availability of childcare. 

This communication to the Board of Education began when they voted on February Break and Year End date changes.  Having different days off in February and ending the year more than a week earlier than all of the other surrounding schools creates a significant logistical and financial hardship on working parents.  None of the childcare and camp programs are available unless it is during a time when the MAJORITY of schools are closed.

While we applaud the Board of Educations efforts to push the 20-21 calendar to continue to begin the week before Labor Day, currently, for the 20-21 school year there is only one other school with the same February Break which is Weston Public Schools.  Wilton, New Canaan, Darien and Westport all continue to have off Presidents Week. NPS is scheduled for the two days prior to Presidents Week.

All of the other neighboring towns continued to schedule their Spring Break in April.  Westport, Darien and Weston are scheduled the week of April 12th, 2021.  Wilton and New Canaan are scheduled the week of April 5th, 2021 beginning on Good Friday, the 2nd.  Many families rely on the full time Childcare offered by the Wilton and New Canaan YMCA’s Vacation Camps.  Scheduling the NPS Spring break in March is further creating hardships for working families and teachers and administrators with children, with little input, thought or concern.

It was stated during the Board of Education vote last week that many families have older siblings to provide care and that families will just figure it out.  That is both inconsiderate and incorrect!  How many 5, 6 & 7-year old’s have siblings that are over 14 years old?  And if they do, how many of those older siblings have other activities such as sports and work?  What information was this assumption based on?

It was also stated during this vote that the reasoning for this change was for the betterment of the students due to required state testing time frames.  If that is the case, then why are all of the surrounding towns ranked with much better schools and with much higher test scoring than Norwalk, yet they have maintained an April Spring Break?  Where is the logic?

At this time, the working families feel that the Board of Education is not only disregarding the hardship their scheduling decisions place on the working families, but is at this point discriminating against families with two working parents.  We are formally requesting that the Board of Education do the following:

1.       Reconvene the Board to Re-Vote on the 20-21 calendar during a time when school is in session to allow parents the opportunity to provide input and attend the meeting, taking careful consideration into the needs and hardships of working families.

2.       Present an amendment to the calendar to include a full week break in February or dates that are during Presidents Week, an April Spring Break (either option Is better than March!) and to extend the school year into the week of June 14th allowing the week of June 21st for inclement weather days as Full Day Camps will not be available until at least June 28th.

3.       Make a policy to vote on critical changes only during Board Meetings when school is in session.

Please take the time to sign this petition to make the NPS Board of Education aware of the tremendous hardship this places on working families and to remind them that continuing to make decisions like this is discriminatory! We, the parents vote for them! They should be concerned about the hardship they are placing on their constituents. Thank you in advance for your time and your support!

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