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Day off school

Original post made by Parent, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 25, 2008

Today is a "local holiday" according to the school calendar. PA schools are closed for a reason that nobody seems to know. But, where are all the kids? I have one child at home with nothing to do and no one to do it with. All the usual friends can't be reached. The neighborhood is deserted. We have been to the park; full of preschoolers. We went shopping in Mountain View, got funny looks because we felt we should have been in school. Is everyone busy celebrating by having expensive day trips or even long weekends away. Is there a Chitty Chitty Bang Bang child catcher doing the rounds?

Anyone else have similar experiences?

Comments (29)

Posted by pat
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 25, 2008 at 2:58 pm

The kids are all hiding under their beds till the violent criminals and predators are taken off the streets

They will have to wait until the Children Theatre crime is solved

Posted by fyi
a resident of Addison School
on Apr 25, 2008 at 3:14 pm

Dear parent,
I believe that the timing of the "local holiday" is related to the Jewish passover, though this started the evening of the 19th and goes to the evening of the 27th. I know that the "local holiday" in the fall is linked to Yom Kippur.

But it could also be related to the end of the third quarter of school year -- there's always a day off between semesters in January which is called a local holiday and is mysterious to parents until their children get into middle and high school.

Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 25, 2008 at 3:16 pm

The 3rd quarter ended a while back, not sure what the local holiday - celebrating earth week?

Posted by Been there
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 25, 2008 at 3:43 pm

It's FRIDAY!!! Why do you thing the teachers' union negotiates for such "in service" or hidden religious holdidays? Three-day weekends are where it's at. Dah?

Posted by It's Prom Day
a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 25, 2008 at 4:50 pm

Lots of kids at the mall, grabbing last-minute stuff for the Gunn prom. Little kids there, too, eating at Peninsula Fountain & Grill and playing near the Frog fountain.

Century Theaters is also pretty full.

Most sports stuff seems to be canceled. Too bad, as it's a very pretty day.

Posted by Another PA mom
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 25, 2008 at 4:51 pm

I heard a couple explanations:

First, PAUSD having done away with "ski week" in February, they had 2 extra days off to squeeze in somewhere. (Personally, I would much rather have ski week back than these random days off sprinkled here and there.)

Then, they may have designated this Friday as a day off because it's the week-end right before STAR testing and they wanted the kids to get rested and in good shape for STAR testing.

Posted by Me Too
a resident of Meadow Park
on Apr 25, 2008 at 5:34 pm

Pretty sure it is for Passover...

Posted by ol' lady
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 26, 2008 at 5:57 am

Checked my Jewish friends...completely useless for Passover. If there were going to be any Friday related to Passover it would have been last week. So, not for Passover. Sort of like thinking the Spring Break was for Easter but since it was the week after Easter...not relevant.

Just a day the District needed to put somewhere to honor contracts for number of days off per year.

Posted by And we pay for this
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 26, 2008 at 7:19 am

Sometimes I wonder how the kids in California ever learn anything with so many odd days off from school. If they can't find a reason for a day off they call it "teacher appreciation day" and the teachers go off to a bunch of meetings.

In other countries you go to school five days a week for six weeks, then you get a Monday off for "half term" then you go back to school for another six weeks of 5 days a week. Maybe that's why Finland does so well on test scores.

Posted by 1/2 French
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 26, 2008 at 9:15 am

IN France it is basically 6 weeks on, then 1 week off, more or less. No, or almost no, homework or projects or big tests hanging over their heads, so they get a real break.

I really like that. The kids work hard, then get a real rest to recharge.

Posted by Yes!
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 26, 2008 at 10:56 am

Six weeks on, one week off is perfect! Instead of these miserable portioned weeks. What kind of learning happens in a two day week, three day week and four day week? Check the calendar, these are all current scenarios....

Posted by k
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 26, 2008 at 11:01 am

The PAUSD calendar is inconsistent with so many other school calendars we hear about - the odd day off here is indeed odd.

Posted by Another PA mom
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 26, 2008 at 8:43 pm

To those of you advocating 6 weeks on, 1 week off, I am with you. However, look at what happened to our 1 week off we used to have in February... A large number of parents complained that it was sooo inconvenient for them, too much of a burden when it came to child care arrangements. And so "ski week" was eliminated.

I never understood that alleged child-care predicament. It is my experience that day-care outfits tailor their schedules to accomodate school schedules...

Let's bring back ski week!

Posted by Grandma
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 27, 2008 at 7:59 am

Rather than ski week how about starting school at the beginning of the year two days later, or ending school at the end of the school year two days earlier.

Before ski week, and before all these odd days off, the school year would begin after Labor Day. I suppose returning to that schedule is too difficult!!!

Posted by PA mom
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 27, 2008 at 9:36 am

Another PA mom -

Some parents don't use child care - perhaps their kid's come home from school and are on their own for an hour or so until the parent arrives home from work. In this one example, finding child care for "ski" week is very expensive, as they can't be left alone all day. You don't appear to be a working mom - oh yeah, you "work" in the home, right?

Posted by seen the stress
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 27, 2008 at 11:23 am

I agree, the "convenience" excuse bugs me greatly.

My biggest beef with this is the fact that our schools don't end their semester before Winter Break..because too many people gripe about starting school in mid August to make this happen.

HUH?? Let's see..don't let the High Schoolers actually rest for a couple weeks so that you can have 2 more weeks in August off, when starting earlier would only have a "downside" for vacations of giving 2 more weeks in June...but starting later has a "downside" of almost 4,000 high school students having to study for finals and finish projects over Winter Break, then fling themselves into yet another 4 months of intense, non-stop work.

I completely fail to understand the, in my mind, selfishness of prioritizing August vacation over High Schoolers' need for a real break.

Posted by High School Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 27, 2008 at 3:10 pm

I don't think I am the only high school parent who prefers finals after winter break. I have had one kid graduate and another half way through and I can remember doing it myself with final exams before winter break and I know which I prefer.

December for me was very traumatic. We had family parties, social gatherings, holiday concerts, school functions, all part and parcel of the holiday season. On top of that we had to finish off all our units before the final exams. That was stress.

When my eldest was a senior, December was equally busy with seasonal activities, school concerts, class projects needing to be finished plus in her senior year, college essays and college applications to be completed. Fortunately, the semester finals were out of the mix. She was able to take the first week of winter break and do all the shopping, church events and celebrating of Christmas and New Year and then she had a quieter week in which she could study for the final exams and relax a little. When she did go back she had a couple of weeks to get back into the swing of things at school and then a relatively quiet house and social life for the week of finals. Much more civilised than the crazy way I had to do it.

Leave finals where they are. If you think you have to make your kids study during winter break for finals then it is you who puts the pressure on them, not the timing.

Posted by Another PA mom
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 27, 2008 at 6:35 pm

PA Mom

Yes I am a stay at home Mom. Your post drips with condescension towards stay at home moms. It's really not worth responding too, other than to say that staying at home is a choice and that it is a big financial sacrifice to do it. I am very proud of my choice and I am sorry for you that you feel condescending about it.

Posted by Another PA mom
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 27, 2008 at 6:40 pm

The child care issue once again is a red herring. The total number of days off during the school year is the same regardless of whether they are spread out here and there or lumped in one week chunks. So, parents who need child care on days without school face the same cost regardless.

Posted by pa mom
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 27, 2008 at 9:01 pm

Another PA mom -

Basically I was reacting to your comment, "A large number of parents complained that it was sooo inconvenient for them," which obviously hit a nerve. In other words, I'm glad you are proud of your choice, but don't you realize there are many women for whom there is no choice? And you are calling me condescending?

BTW - you've pegged me wrong. My women friends run the gamut - from executives to stay-at-home moms, to nannies, musicians, and teachers. Some don't have the "choice" not to work, many do, but I don't hear them complaining about their annoyance at those who have childcare issues for the countless days off during the school year.

Another PA mom -

I disagree that it's a red herring - It makes organizing and minimizing the cost for childcare more difficult; finding help for one week or one day only is very difficult and expensive. Using vacation time means having nothing for the summer. I've been in both situations; working and not working and I'll just say I have a tad more empathy for the working women out there.

Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 28, 2008 at 9:14 am

The day care issue is real for many people for many reasons. Many families are now 3 generations for this very reason. There are quite a few families in my neighborhood who have a grandparent living with them specifically to look after the children. These families are not low income whereby they need the more, but more likely to be professional two income families where the parents are working and not coming home to well after 6pm. The grandparents are not only looking after the kids on the odd day off, but taking them to their after school activities, cooking and cleaning as well as helping with homework.

There are expensive camps arranged when there is a whole week off school, but very little can be done for just a day. Playdates are arranged, but it is usual in this case for the reverse to be arranged at weekends.

For various reasons we have many Mondays off school and for those activities that happen in school on Monday only, eg pe for elementary schools, they miss more than their fare share of that particular activity.

I would rather have the two weeks for winter break and two weeks for spring break rather than odd days off. Or, how about being really different and having three weeks off for winter break and then a week for spring break.

It is particularly difficult for routine when there are so many short weeks for young ones. I in particular found it much more difficult getting my kids ready for school this morning as with the long weekend and the good weather they felt that summer had already started!!

Posted by you sound like: blahblahblah
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 28, 2008 at 5:38 pm

How many of you went to the many school calendar meetings that were open to the community?

Posted by Pro-Grandparents
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 29, 2008 at 12:47 pm


It may not have been your intention - but you have made live-in-grandparents sound like they step in for "hired maid".

Three generations living together - there are multiple reasons - it can be cultural, it can be for the benefit of the grandparent, it can be for the benefit of the grand children or it can be for the benefit of the entire family.

Whatever the reason may be, if you can get along, then having the grandparents live with you is the most optimum situation for the benefit of the family.

Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 29, 2008 at 1:49 pm

As a parent who has had family in other states for most of my kids childhood - I have always been envious of the families who are lucky enough to have grandparents close by who can participate in their grandkids daily lives. Many grandparents are delighted to help with raising their grandkids.

Posted by AdultDaughter
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 29, 2008 at 3:09 pm

A few years ago I had to convince my dad to move in with us after my mother passed away. Convincing him was a very tough sell for me.

After 5+ years - all of us are glad we decided to try out the situation. My dad takes immense pride in watching his grandson shoot a home-run; he is delighted when his grand-daughter spins around on the ice ....and at the same time he has his bingo club, his piano club and a ton of other social activities.

Most grandparents want to help out however much they can .. its not a burden on them. They want to see their own children be successful in whatever they are doing i.e. its not just the grand kids; but their own kids too ..

And to me, the "trust worthy" Grandpa at home, supervising my children is a mental peaces that cannot be described in words.

Posted by seen the stress
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 30, 2008 at 6:39 am

"you sound like"...I went. The problem was that the surveys were about 1/2-1/2 for before and after winter break exams, both by families and by high schoolers.

At some point, we have to make a decision that is best for the kids, not based on surveys. The kids have no idea which way is best for them they have no other frame of reference. The adults making the decision are making it for reasons that have nothing to do with health, and all for "but it is so busy and there are sports so my kids don't have time to study before and I want to have more time in August off and .." and so on.

The ones who wanted finals before break were "get it over with so they can rest".

Hmmm...which one sounds kid-centered?

Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 30, 2008 at 9:11 am

Interesting discussion about grandparents. I am sure that having grandparents be part of the family is something that is good for all, but it is a trend in this area and in this generation that would not have happened to the same extent when I was growing up. My parents actually moved away from both sets of their parents because they were tired of the interfering when we were quite small. It was then as a teenager that we had to have a grandparent move in with us because she no longer could live on her own and as the time passed it became more difficult as one or other of us had to be with her all the time in case she fell or burnt herself (both of which she did on the few occasions when she was left in the house on her own).

The trend for bringing grandparents into the family is fine if it works and if the house is big enough. In fact, in many ways I would really like it if I had my mother here, but as for my mother in law, when she visits I just want the time to pass as quickly as possible and get back to normal!! It all depends.

Posted by Parent
a resident of Ohlone School
on Mar 13, 2009 at 9:50 am

I agree. What is all the fuss about. The kids go to school the same amount of days each year and days off are taken in chunks or is split up. Childcare cost should be the same. What about all that time we have off during the long summer break when working parents need to find camps and childcare? Also how do you feel when you go back to work after having a week off compared to a few 3 days weekends? And how do you feel when you have been away from work too long? Europeans have it right. Week long breaks to break up the year and a shorter summer vacation.

It is interesting that Americans value the adult that pays the bill and their employers rather than the child that attends school and their family.

Posted by Mom
a resident of Duveneck School
on Mar 13, 2009 at 10:19 am

We got a voicemail yesterday evening from the principal of Duveneck saying that school is in session today despite what others say.

Are you sure your children aren't supposed to be in school?

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