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Riverhead School District now open day before Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving at Riley

Local students will have to endure an extra day of classes instead of gearing up for a turkey dinner starting next school year.

The Riverhead Board of Education has adopted the 2016-17 school calendar that includes a shortened break over the Thanksgiving holiday.

While schools will be open Wednesday, Nov. 23, which is the day before Thanksgiving, there will be a half-day of school for students in grades K-6 on Nov. 22 and 23. Those two days have been designated as parent-teacher conference days, according to the calendar the school board unanimously approved Tuesday. [Scroll down to view the complete calendar]

School board member Ann Cotten-DeGrasse asked Superintendent Nancy Carney if there were any way the district’s traditional three-day Thanksgiving holiday break could be restored.

“It’s just not going to work,” the superintendent told Ms. Cotten-DeGrasse. “All of the units are in agreement that this is the best possible scenario going forward.”

The decision comes a year after Ms. Carney’s administration proposed a controversial plan to establish new breaks during the spring instead of the traditional five-day break in February.

The district had considered the change since time off during winter breaks surrounding the holidays, coupled with snow days, has become a disruption to student instruction.

The board later adopted a school calendar with the February break restored after the district’s teachers union voiced its objection during a Board of Education meeting.

Ms. Carney said Tuesday that the 2016-17 calendar includes three snow days in order to avoid having to open during established breaks. This year, the district plans to take away a couple of days the students would have been on break.

School was opened on Feb. 19 and will be opened again May 27 in order to make up days the district was closed due to snowstorms.

“It doesn’t help when we [take away days during] the February or April break,” she said. “It’s lost instructional time when students don’t show up.”

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Photo: Teacher Catherine Kent marches in a Thanksgiving Day celebration at Riley Avenue School in 2014. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

Riverhead School District calendar 2016-17