vacations during the school year

Discussion in 'General Education' started by PinkLily, Aug 21, 2008.

  1. PinkLily

    PinkLily Companion

    Joined:
    May 1, 2005
    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 21, 2008

    I am in the process of writing an information booklet about my class for my new students and their parents. I have a section that talks about absences and what to do if a child will be absent from school. At the end of this section I wanted to write something about vacations during the school year. How can I politely say something that lets parents know that I discourage these types of vacations. This has been a huge problem at our school over the past few years. I don't think that parents realize how much a 2-3 week vacation can affect their child's learning. Any idea on how to word this section?
     
  2.  
  3. reverie

    reverie Companion

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2007
    Messages:
    228
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 21, 2008

    How about something saying you encourage vacations during official school breaks only? If you phrase it in a positive way, it may sound better. Then continue with your reasoning (the difficulty of catching up after a break).
     
  4. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Messages:
    5,055
    Likes Received:
    435

    Aug 21, 2008

    In our system, something that long would just about require someone to withdraw their child from school. 3 unexcused absenses sends you to the truancy officer. 2-3 weeks, you better be on your death bed just about.
     
  5. GoldenPoppy

    GoldenPoppy Habitué

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    Messages:
    775
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 21, 2008

    Here is what my Welcome to 4th Grade letter to the families says:

    Your child is expected to attend each day school is in session. Children who miss school are at a disadvantage – they have missed key information presented during lessons and discussions, they delay their classmates in moving forward when concepts have to be reexplained to get them caught up, they delay any group work which has taken place, and some material simply cannot be repeated. Please schedule medical appointments for times that will allow your child to complete the full day. We have numerous vacations during the school year – please respect the learning that goes on in our classroom by not talking extra vacation days. The day before and the day after vacations are not “easy” days for us – we continue to work. Advance homework and classwork assignments will not be provided. Children who miss school can’t help but see significant reductions in their grades.
     
  6. lilmisses1014

    lilmisses1014 Comrade

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    Messages:
    437
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 21, 2008

    When I was a LTS, I had a student who didn't come in until my third week at the school. She and her family were on vacation. It took me forever to get her caught up and she still continued to struggle. I received phone calls from home because they couldn't understand why her grades were so low. When I subbed (for a day) in the class again at the end of the year, I found out she went on another 2-week vacation with her family and wouldn't be back until after school let out for the summer. Her parents' response? "We'll just send her to summer school."

    Anyway, GoldenPoppy, I like what you include in your letter and will have to keep that in mind for the future. Thanks for sharing!!
     
  7. MrsWbee

    MrsWbee Companion

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2008
    Messages:
    209
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 21, 2008

    I am worried about what students can miss in 2-3 days, let alone 2-3 weeks! I like your letter, GoldenPoppy.
     
  8. adventuresofJ

    adventuresofJ Comrade

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2008
    Messages:
    415
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 21, 2008

    My parents would pull my sister and i for a week once every two years... we'd usually get homework to take with us... but this would also be mentioned to the teacher months in advanced. 2-3 weeks is just excessive to be vacationing during school.
    If it is pre planned and the student is caught up and has things to do while they are gone ( in the car on the plane any down time) then it can't be that terrible - but no more than a week.
     
  9. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Messages:
    1,042
    Likes Received:
    81

    Aug 21, 2008

    Our school has something about how the vacation should be educational in nature or it is counted as unexcused.
     
  10. MollyT

    MollyT Companion

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2006
    Messages:
    228
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 22, 2008

    We have many students who come from other countries - and some of them travel overseas for extended periods ...... ok, they go for a whole term ( 10 weeks). I guess it cant be helped, but it is very hard to catch them up!
     
  11. Canadian Gal

    Canadian Gal Habitué

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Messages:
    801
    Likes Received:
    3

    Aug 22, 2008

    I tuaght in an ESL school with a similar problem MollyT - our kids would be in Canada from April to November (or less), and from December to March (or longer) they would be in Mexico. We also weren't allowed to assign homework, so it was no surprise that we had 6th Graders who couldn't read!
     
  12. midwestteacher

    midwestteacher Cohort

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Messages:
    727
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 22, 2008

    I have never had a student that was gone on vacation for two weeks or more during the school year. A day before or after a weekend would be about it. This really sounds like an administrative issue to me. The school needs to put their foot down and tell parents that family vacations are not excused absences and these students will be reported as truant.
     
  13. janlee

    janlee Devotee

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2003
    Messages:
    1,157
    Likes Received:
    9

    Aug 22, 2008

    Teachers in my school do not write about absences or vacations. This is covered in the student/parent handbook written by the district. If teachers wrote their own vacation and absent policies there would be too many different policies. It would be very difficult if you had siblings and teachers had conflicting policies, or worse if there were twins in two different classes.
     
  14. PinkLily

    PinkLily Companion

    Joined:
    May 1, 2005
    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 23, 2008

    Thanks for all of your responses -especially you, GoldenPoppy. Hopefully, parents will think twice before booking vacations during the upcoming school year.
     
  15. GoldenPoppy

    GoldenPoppy Habitué

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    Messages:
    775
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 23, 2008

    You're welcome, PinkLily.
     
  16. eduk8m

    eduk8m Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2008
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 23, 2008

    Pet Peeve

    This is one of my pet peeves! I always have 2 or 3 students who are gone for more than a week, and it is often right before or after winter or spring break. We have been back at school for 7 days and I have already had my first request for homework for a child who is going to Utah for a week beginning at the end of this week.

    At back to school night, and in my info packet, I tell parents that I don't teach to the calendar, I teach to the needs of my students and therefore can't tell them for sure what we will be covering a week ahead of time. However, if they want to take the student's textbooks with them, I will be happy to email assignments to them on a daily basis. Otherwise, the assignments will be collected and ready for them when they return. I have only had one parent take me up on the email offer and that student didn't do the work anyway! They were just having too much fun to get to it. Most parents don't want to tote the books around with them.

    I also tell parents something like, "Before you ask if your child will miss anything important if you take them out of school for a trip or a doctor's appointment, let me assure you that the answer will be yes! I promise that I will not be wasting your child's time when they are at school, and every lesson is important; I can't stop teaching because one of the students is not here."

    It never ceases to amaze me how often parents expect you to make exceptions for their child, and that they can't see how much extra work this type of request puts on the teacher. Why should we be burdened by extra work because they want to run off and play!!! Just grading the make-up work that comes in takes twice as long to grade as it would have if it had come in on time.

    My team has come up with a new motto for this year, "Preparing your child for the road" is the official motto, but we are all planning on adding "not the road for the child" when we share this with parents at Back to School night next week. Do you think they will catch the drift??
     
  17. Rockys_Mom

    Rockys_Mom Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Messages:
    79
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 23, 2008

    I totally agree with everyone! As a spec ed teacher, I was appalled when one of my families pulled their son for a week after spring break to accommodate his "regular" ed brothers schedule. This student was difficult to work with on a normal system, and now he's missed a week of work? And guess who got blamed for the low grades in his gen ed placements (if you guessed me, you're right :haha:)

    I know in my previous district, absences longer then two or three days almost had to be okayed, gone through the counseling dept for a grade check, etc. I'd check your school policy. Plus check your state policy, unless it's a severe medical need, in WI students can only miss 5 days a semester. Sometimes parents need a gentle reminder about that. Plus, it takes the monkey off your back and puts it on admin/state. Just for those cranky parents who make everyone's days so fun!!!
     
  18. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,606
    Likes Received:
    2,713

    Aug 23, 2008

    It's very, very common in my district for students to miss the entire month of January. Many of them travel overseas to visit family over the long winter break, and it's just easier and more cost-effective for them to stay for an extra 3-4 weeks. It stinks for us teachers, but what can we do?

    I still hold my students responsible for the "big stuff" they missed while they were gone.
     
  19. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    Messages:
    5,621
    Likes Received:
    6

    Aug 23, 2008

    I'm not sure where I read this, but I loved it (and I'm not sure if I can quote it exactly, but I'll try)

    The single most important factor for success in school is attendence. We expect students to be in class every day barring serious illness or a true emergency. While make up work can be assinged, the classroom experience can never be recaptured.
     
  20. LunchMeat

    LunchMeat Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2008
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 23, 2008

    if a child is in the public school system, whether they were gone for 2 days, 2 weeks, or 2 months, isn't the school still obligated to teach that student?
     
  21. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    Messages:
    5,621
    Likes Received:
    6

    Aug 23, 2008

    Aren't the parent's obligated to put the needs of their children before their own needs? Schools can only teach when the child is present.
     
  22. LunchMeat

    LunchMeat Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2008
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 23, 2008

    huh? im just asking. i know in a past large district i worked for, the school HAD (not that i approved or anything) to take students back that were gone long periods of time
     
  23. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    Messages:
    5,621
    Likes Received:
    6

    Aug 23, 2008

    The thing is, nobody said anything about not teaching the children. The thread was about ways of impressing upon parents the importance of regular attendence.
     
  24. LunchMeat

    LunchMeat Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2008
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 23, 2008

    alrighty.
     
  25. MollyT

    MollyT Companion

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2006
    Messages:
    228
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 24, 2008

    Wow! ... I love this, so well said and straight to the point. Thanks for sharing this one. :up::thanks:
     
  26. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    24,959
    Likes Received:
    2,115

    Aug 24, 2008


    In my district after you are out for a certain # of consecutive days (I can't recall the # right now but it's not a huge number) you are dis-enrolled and must be re-enrolled at your return. Yes, we educate the kids who go on vacation- much of what is missed though is experiential and can not be re-created for little Johnny just because his parents wanted to go to Disney off season to beat the crowds.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. Oureducation
Total: 212 (members: 2, guests: 186, robots: 24)
test