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Thanksgiving week’s a holiday: School calendar approved


Palm Beach County’s public schools are getting rid of all those half-days that send parents scrambling to readjust their schedules when their kids go to school late or come home early.

Instead, students and teachers get a full five days off during the Thanksgiving holiday week.

The big changes were approved by school board members Wednesday.

The county’s long-standing tradition of scheduling half-days throughout the year was a way to give teachers time for training and professional development. This year, the county’s public schools scheduled seven half-days, in which high school students start late and elementary and middle students leave early.

But Schools Superintendent Robert Avossa said the shortened days were detested by many parents, teachers and administrators, who find them disruptive and inefficient.

Students are more likely to skip school on those days, he said, and some schools dealt with the shortened days by scheduling 20-minute classes.

“What are you going to do in 20-minute periods?” Avossa said. “Over time, (the shortened days) may have lost their focus.”

Indeed, a school district analysis found that students were far more likely — sometimes more than twice as likely — to be absent on half-days than on regular days.



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