Changes for 2015 Anoka-Hennepin spring break

Anoka-Hennepin’s spring break will likely fall several weeks later in 2015 than it has in previous years. For the first time, it will not be at the end of the second trimester.

Monday, the board is scheduled to approve next year’s calendar, which proposes spring break run from Monday, March 30, to Friday, April 3, 2015. Easter falls on April 5 next year.

Since the district moved to a trimester schedule in 2010, spring break has always aligned with the end of the second trimester, which usually wraps up the first week in March.

However, when Anoka-Hennepin was on a quarter schedule, spring break rarely coincided with the end of a term.

Pushing spring break back will solve scheduling dilemmas with testing and allow school to be completed a day earlier in the spring, Anoka Hennepin Education Minnesota President Julie Blaha said at the board meeting Jan. 13. Blaha is one of 27 members of this year’s calendar committee.

“Also, the later spring break alleviates an issue at that long stretch in April and May,” Blaha said. “You’re of course welcome to visit a school during April and May to understand the impact of that situation,” she said, staring up at the board and met with laughter from those assembled.

For the first time, the calendar committee administered a survey to gauge staff preferences on the placement of spring break. The survey did not indicate a clear proclivity for a week off after the second trimester’s conclusion or a break in the middle of the third trimester, committee members said.

“We know that the calendar will not make everyone happy,” Associate Superintendent for Middle Schools Jinger Gustafson said.

The committee looked to coordinate spring break with local colleges’ schedules, but they varied, according to Blaha.

Scheduling break after March 20 works better with ACCESS testing schedules, Gustafson said.

Students take ACCESS tests, proficiency exams administered to English language learners across all grade levels in the district, from Feb. 2 to March 20. All days are utilized with a large number of students sitting for the exam and multiple sections to be completed, according to Gustafson.

Pushing spring break back allows ACCESS tests to be administered without a week’s interruption, Gustafson said.

If the proposed schedule is approved, students will still have two days off, March 9 and 10, at the end of the second trimester for staff development and planning.

The last day of school will fall on Tuesday, June 9, 2015.

Olivia Koester is at olivia.koester@ecm-inc.com

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