PW-S School District will move spring break to March

Vacation next year will coincide with change in athletic seasons, not Easter
Ozaukee Press staff

The Port Washington School Board last week approved a 2019-20 school calendar that moves spring break up to the last week in March — weeks before Easter — because of athletics.

Traditionally, spring break coincides with Easter. This year, the break is April 15 through April 19, which is the week before the holiday.

But next year, spring break will be March 23 through March 27, two weeks before Easter on April 12.

The last week in March falls between the winter and spring sports seasons, and aligning the break with the gap between athletic seasons will alleviate problems with scheduling sports events, which have been exacerbated by the addition of two teams in a restructured North Shore Conference, Port Washington High School Athletic Director Thad Gabrielse said. 

“We have had our difficulties scheduling within an eight-team conference in the past, and now it has become even more difficult to build conference schedules with a 10-team conference, especially when so many schools have differing spring breaks,” he said.

Currently, in districts that have spring breaks after the start of the spring athletic season, parents may be faced with the “difficult decision” whether to go on a vacation that forces their children to miss athletic events or forgo family get-aways to honor team commitments, Gabrielse said. 

But with most schools in the North Shore Conference agreeing on the same spring break during the transition from the winter to spring season, families won’t have to make that choice, he said. 

“Now that a majority of schools in our conference have decided to commit to the last week in March, scheduling will be much easier, and it will be easier for our families to make spring break vacation plans,” Gabrielse said. 

Only four high schools in the conference — Homestead in Mequon, West Bend East and West and Slinger — have not committed to scheduling spring break during the last week of March, he said.

School Board member Sara McCutcheon said separating spring break from Easter may take awhile to get used to.

“It will be a big change for people,” she said.

Among the other changes in the 2019-20 calendar, next year there will be no classes on Martin Luther King Day, which is on the third Monday in January. The district will move a professional growth day from February to the holiday honoring the civil right leader, so while staff members will still have to work students will have off like their peers in some other schools.

The 2019-20 school year will begin on Tuesday, Sept. 3, and end with a half day of classes on Friday, June 5. High school graduation will be on Sunday, June 7.


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