The Orange Board of Education adopted a calendar for the 2017-2018 school year at its monthly meeting in January. School will begin on Monday, August 28 and will tentatively end on Thursday, June 7 unless the district needs to make up snow days. The calendar includes 10 minimum days, mostly to allow for professional development. As has been the tradition for the past couple of years, students will be off on President’s Day and the following day for a February break.
At its December meeting, the board discussed starting the year with a half-day on Monday, but based on suggestions by teachers, school will start with a full day and a full five-day week. “We’ve tried to align our calendar with Amity as best as we could with regards to how the needs of families may play into this. Some of our students have siblings at Amity and are relied upon to be quasi-babysitters for our younger students,” explained Superintendent of Schools Vince Scarpetti.
Board Member Mara Saccente was concerned with the younger children starting with a full week. “Our question was how the kids handle that first full week with a full day. We don’t follow the Amity district with all of our days. Woodbridge has zero half-days for PD, I think we should do what’s best for our kids of Orange.”
Scarpetti reiterated that the older Amity children are relied upon to watch their younger elementary school siblings on half-days. Speaking of a conversation that board had earlier in the meeting about increased collaboration between the teachers and staff of Woodbridge, Bethany and Orange schools for professional development, Board Member Kim Browe said she would like to see even more collaboration before the calendar is set. “Many of our families have students in the Amity district and next year, we should have this discussion about the calendar earlier so that these opportunities for professional development aren’t missed. Even if ACES isn’t going to have a collaborative discussion with districts, that we have our own collaborative discussion with Bethany, Woodbridge and Amity so that when we go into ACES, we have a schedule that meets the needs of the three area towns,” she said. “When I look at the calendar, I see missed opportunities and us having to make adjustments after the fact. I don’t want to be sitting here at this time next year having the same conversation.”
The board unanimously approved the calendar.