A little more than two months after Hurricane Sandy devastated much of Long Island and shut down Valley Stream schools for more than a week, a new calendar was unveiled that details how the four school districts would make up the lost days.
At last week’s Valley Stream Central High School District Board of Education meeting, an updated calendar was formally adopted. Friday, Feb. 15 is now scheduled as a regular day of instruction, instead of the first day of February recess, and two superintendent conference days were added at the end of school in June where students will not report to class.
The minimum number of days a district must have in its calendar is 180, but that can include up to four superintendent conference days. The original 2012-13 school calendar was constructed with 182 school days plus two superintendent conference days. Schools were closed for seven days — six due to Sandy and one because of the nor’easter nine days later — making a considerable dent in the number of instructional days for students.
After losing seven instructional days, the districts needed to make up three days in order to get to 180. Dr. Bill Heidenreich, superintendent of the Central High School District, discussed possible calendar changes with Richard Herrmann, president of the Valley Stream Teachers Association, following the storm. There is a provision in the districts’ contract with teachers that requires the superintendents to develop the school calendar in consultation with the teachers’ association. Other districts in the area announced calendar changes weeks earlier because they do not have this provision.
Heidenreich said he would have preferred to make up more days during February recess, but there’s language in the teachers’ contract that indicates that days should be made up following the last exam in June. He “reluctantly” recommended to the board last week that the calendar be revised with a day of instruction added Feb. 15 and two superintendent conference days in June.