Shortened winter break prompts discussion

Different perspectives rise from students, administration


Carissa Prestholdt

Park’s winter break for the 2019-2020 school year is Dec. 21 – Jan. 2. It is four days shorter than the 2018-2019 school year’s winter break.

Isabel Kjaer, Marta Hill, and Kaia Myers

According to Superintendent Astein Osei, there are several factors that influence the district’s calendar, including feedback from the community regarding having a longer summer break.

“Feedback we were receiving is that people were wanting to get out earlier and in order to do that you have to find time within that school calendar to make up for those days,” Osei said.

This year, students and staff are on winter break from Dec. 23-Jan. 1, according to the city-school calendar.

According to sophomore Daniel Chambershaw, winter break should be two weeks because it gives students the opportunity to spend time with family.

“I feel it should just be two weeks because people really want to get out of school and have time with their families, and it is good to see loved ones,” Chambershaw said.

However, Chambershaw said getting out earlier at the end of the school year is a good reason to shorten winter break.

“I think it’s worth it because at the end of the year everyone is just tired and really wants summer vacation, so I think it is worth it in the long run,” Chambershaw said.

Osei said the other major element is childcare when it comes to younger students. Long breaks can add up, and according to Osei, it can have a large impact on families.

“I think another reason is, we (have to) think about the impact on particularly younger children, like elementary school aged children, and somebody needs for potential childcare,” Osei said. 

Junior Izzy Lien said as other schools have longer breaks, she does not feel St. Louis Park’s break should be shorter.

“I don’t believe it is fair because every other year we have had a longer break and all the other schools have longer breaks. It is winter break and I think we should have a full two weeks,” Lien said.

According to Osei, the shortened winter break is a result of keeping many factors in mind at once.

“As a school district it was how can we take all of the different components and create a calendar that would be mindful of the impact on families having two weeks off, but also mindful of not wanting to have school go to the middle of June,” Osei said.

Osei said the change in the calendar may spark a change in the attendance of both students and staff members. 

“I don’t know the last time here in St. Louis Park that we’ve not had a full two week winter vacation. What I’m interested in is looking at data around student attendance and staff attendance on that Thursday and Friday,” Osei said. “Although we physically didn’t have it (two weeks), people still might decide to create their own two weeks.”