Most districts in the Champaign-Urbana area are gearing up for Spring Break at the end of this month, but at least one district has decided to forgo the traditional vacation and keep school in session.
Unit 7 Schools in Tolono will not have a Spring Break this year and according to Superintendent Andy Larson, this is the first time he’s aware the district has made that call.
Larson says the reason for the decision was partly a reaction to how late school ran last year because so many emergency days were used. But the the main motivation behind it is due to the “unknowns of PARCC testing.”
“The big reason we didn’t want (Spring Break) was because of PARCC testing. We need to make sure we have enough of a time frame to get in all that needs to be done,” Larson said.
“There are so many unknowns with PARCC testing we didn’t feel comfortable taking the week off,” he added.
In addition, Larson said the district wanted to make sure construction at the schools wouldn’t be delayed and would start on time this summer.
“Secondary to PARCC testing, (there are) construction things going on and we just couldn’t afford to be going that deep into summer break,” he said.
Several districts in the area including Champaign, Urbana, Mahomet-Seymour and Monticello schools will observe Spring Break the week March 23-27, the same time that the University of Illinois and Parkland College will close.
St. Joseph School District and Heritage School District will have a short break around Easter weekend.
St. Joseph Superintendent Todd Pence says his district has always tied into Good Friday and Easter, not with what the local university does.
“We give our teachers two or three calendar options each year to vote on and we go with the one they prefer. We have thrown out an option of having the same week as the U of I in the past and it has never been a popular option with the teachers,” Pence said.