Ramsey Graduation Date Remains Undecided

Board members are split on whether or not graduation should be moved to its original date, June 21, or stay at its post-Sandy rescheduled date, June 28

The Ramsey Board of Education is still debating whether or not it should move the High School graduation this June back to its original date. Members of the board said at a meeting Tuesday night they hope to have the calendar debate settled by next Tuesday, but warned that there are pros and cons to both available options - , and moving it back to its original date, Friday June 21.

Parents have been petitioning the board for over a month asking it to reconsider a decision made in November that added a week of school at the end of June to make up for days missed during and after Hurricane Sandy. Parents have said already made travel plans and college open houses scheduled for the final week of June would prohibit students from attending graduation on the later date.

A committee is now in the midst of determining if graduation can be moved  back, while still having all students in the district attend classes for the state-mandated 180 days.

If graduation is moved to June 21, and the district uses the two snow days it has built in to the calendar, board members said graduation day would be the 180th for RHS seniors. The board is considering that day being the last for only the Class of 2013, and having the high school’s 9th through 12th graders attend school the following week.

However, that solution presents challenges, Board member Jim Meiman explained. For example, splitting end-of-year final exams could be problematic, he said.

High School Principal Dr. Michael Thumm is working on a plan that would both make the exam schedule work, and come up with ways that the final week of school after graduation could be filled with “meaningful learning” for lowerclassmen. Thumm is expected to present his plan to the board before its meeting next Tuesday.

The calendar reshuffle also affected the Smith School 8th grade promotion ceremony. At this week’s meeting, board president Anthony Gasparovich said the 8th grade ceremony would most likely remain on , because if it was pushed back to its original date and the district used its two snow days, 8th graders would fall below the state-mandated minimum number of school days.

As school officials work to determine the end-of-year dates, board members said snow days may still throw the entire schedule off. If the district uses more than two snow days, it may need to add in school days in “creative ways,” like Saturday classes. If it uses less, the board said days off would be added into the calendar at the end of the extended school year, instead of surrounding the Memorial Day Break, as originally planned.

Despite parent suggestions, board members said they are not likely to take away days from spring break in order to shorten the school year.

“We have to balance [the concerns of] 250 graduates with 2700 other students in the district,” Gasparovich said. “But, we all understand the importance of high school graduation and want to make a decision.”

The board said it will try to make a decision by next Tuesday night’s meeting.

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Daniel Kennedy January 18, 2013 at 08:36 AM
It is far too late at this point to consider changing the calendar as drastically as removing the spring break in April. It's a lot more than a family here or there who have plans made for that time. Whatever Dr. Michael Thumm comes up with will probably be fine.
Angie Kelly January 18, 2013 at 04:04 PM
It isn't to late to talk about April break....because if we get alot of snow and more school is closed....guess where it will come from....we have 2 snow days built in now, if more than 2 April is the only place to take it. As far as forgiving days....they already said that is NOT an option....if we drop now, smith and hubbard are below the state mandated 180...the ONLY option is at the end of June or April break period.....its not like if we don't use those 2 days we get it back at the end....we get a longer memorial day....so if we don't take away april break then our little ones are sweating in the builiding until June 28th and many, many seniors and 8th graders will NOT be taking part in their graduation. Its a no brainer.....we should forget April break and not ruin it for seniors that have been students in Ramsey for the last 12 years.
Daniel Kennedy January 19, 2013 at 12:35 AM
The time to take action if the Board was going to modify the April break was shortly after Sandy, at this point they have waited too long to change the calendar 90 days from now. In the 'big boy' world referenced by another above with two working parents: reservations have been made, extended family plans coordinated, time off from work booked, and on and on. These plans can hardly turn on a dime or be covered by 'travel insurance', nor is it anyone's place to denigrate the plans of another parent. And these families should not be punished by this procrastinated and poor planning by having their children miss a week of school. The Board should not have fooled around with this for as long as they did, first coming out in the wake of Sandy with needing to be over the 180 day limit because that's the "Ramsey standard" and in the teacher's contract (they negotiated), not listening to the objections of people who raised the graduation date issue then, and now trying to make sure they meet the 180 day state mark which was the real 'thou shall not pass' limit all along while navigating this scheduling issue. You're entitled to make or more accurately repeat your proposal, but doing something with the April break now would introduce the board to a lot of families that are not part of the small vocal minority that attend BOE meetings, and the Board knows this: "board members said they are not likely to take away days from spring break in order to shorten the school year".
Angie Kelly January 19, 2013 at 01:23 AM
so the families that have plans at the end of June can "turn on a dime".....?? whats the difference? The most important fact is that they will HURT families....there are many kids that will not walk graduation.....how can no one care about that? They have been students in ramsey for 12 years and WILL NOT take part in graduation.....
Lisa Argenio January 21, 2013 at 09:20 PM
No kid should have to miss their High School Graduation!!!! Plain and simple


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