Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The erratic scheduling of Long Beach's spring break

The people who schedule the public school spring break in Long Beach, Calif., must hate consistency. Or maybe they just like to annoy parents, teachers and students. 

Whatever the reason, the Long Beach Unified School District spring break hops around in the calendar like a sand flea. Over the last seven years, the starting date for spring break has varied by a full month. Take a look:

LBUSD's spring break

2014: April 21-25
2013: April 1-5
2012: April 9-13
2011: April 25-29
2010: April 5-9
2009: April 13-17
2008: March 24-28

By comparison, note that the spring break at California State University at Long Beach falls in practically the same week each year:

CSULB's spring break

2014: March 31-April 4
2013: April 1-5
2012: March 26-30
2011: March 28-April 1
2010: March 29-April 2
2009: March 30-April 3
2008: March 31-April 4

Why is the scheduling for the Long Beach Unified break so erratic? I don't know, but I do know that most parents would prefer consistency so they can plan their lives.

Students would be served best by a break that comes midway between winter break and summer vacation not too early and not too late.

Teachers, too, would like to have spring break at a predictable point in the schedule so lessons and units can be planned appropriately. No one wants to have a test or have an assignment come due immediately after break. Course schedules have to be adjusted every year because of the ever-shifting break schedule.

Also, when spring break falls particularly late in April it comes very close to big state tests. Students return from their time off to suddenly intense test preparation.

It's time for Long Beach Unified to pick the best time for spring break
the first week in April, for example and stick with it.

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