Thursday, March 17, 2016

Community reaction builds as SD52 stays with one week break for Spring of 2017

After a couple of months of consultation and a review of three models to choose from, School District 52 officials have decided to follow the familiar path of keeping to a one week Spring Break in 2017.  A decision that it would appear is not one that is being received well by a number of those involved with those consultations.

The move to stay with the One week break came following a public engagement session on Tuesday evening, with School District trustees hearing feedback from parents and guardians on the topic. 

School District officials also considered the input from a range of stakeholders that were included and in some cases required, as part of the consultation process, included in the stakeholder group were representatives from the Prince Rupert and District Teachers Union.

To this point there has been no official notice posted to the School District 52 website that outlines the background, or factors that the trustees weighed as they arrived at their decision. 

However, the reaction currently being found on facebook, twitter and other social media options is providing some indication that the decision is proving to be a disappointment for a few and in some cases has left some residents quite upset with the path that the trustees have taken.

School District 52 has decided
to stay with a one week Spring Break
for 2017

According to the calendar that was used as part of the consultation process, with the decision to hold to the one week vacation period, next year's Spring Break will take place from March 20 to 24

Remaining with that one week break will leave SD52 out of step with those educational groups in the immediate area. 

Annunciation the Independent school in Prince Rupert has a two week Spring break policy in place and currently is in the middle of their current break from studies.  

The Two week Spring break policy is also in effect at the Coast Mountain School District which serves Terrace and Kitimat. 

It was noted at a February School District meeting that the majority of the School District's in the province have now adopted the two week Spring Break in recent years, a process which leaves Prince Rupert among the few to hold to the one week policy.

On Thursday morning Prince Rupert District Teacher's Union President Kathy Murphy spoke to the CBC's Carolina de Ryk on Daybreak North and outlined some of the concerns that she has heard from her membership as part of the School District decision.

Earlier this year, the membership of the PRTDTU voted in favour of the move to a two week Spring Break, the minutes of the School District meeting of February 9th made note of the result of that vote by the PRDTU, with School District officials offering further background observations on the issue during the course of the February 9th session.

"Teachers have voted in favour of a move to a two-week Spring Break,  There is little evidence that a longer Spring Break would have a negative impact on student learning. The Recreation Centre would offer activities during the second week."

The issue could see further discussion and the final approval announced as part of the April 12th School District Board meeting.

More background on developments at SD52 and with education on the North Coast can be found on our archive page.

Update: In a short media release posted to the SD52 website, the School District noted that the two week option, which stakeholders had recommended through their feedback to the District, had been defeated in a tie vote.

Board Chair Tina Last is quoted in the media release as observing that: "this is a difficult decision and needs to be considered carefully"

The Board will meet again on March 30th to consider the calendar issue further.

Note: the above item has been edited for clarification, the PRDTU simply conducted a vote on the calendar issue, the School District provided the additional notes related to impact of any potential change related to the calendar options. Our apologies for any confusion on that particular aspect of the issue.


  1. Kathy Murphy here feeling misquoted - the union did not make the comments in red but rather simply voted. The comment I believe came from Sandy Jones and what she said at the Board meeting of Feb 9. Please correct this.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Thank you for your note, the item in question has been edited for clarification.


  2. I don't believe the 2016-17 calendar year was approved by The Board at the March 15th meeting. There is still a possibility of a 2-week break for the 2016-17 school year.

    Also, I would like to query just who, exactly, has been quoted in this article.

    1. Thank you for the contribution, it is noted in the updated that the School District is to review the issue further on March 30th.