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Longer school breaks get nod

March 20, 2000|By RICHARD F. BELISLE, Waynesboro

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Superintendent P. Duff Rearick's idea to extend breaks during the school year to relieve stress for students does not have the blessing of the Greencastle-Antrim School Board.

Rearick's plan, which was vetoed, would have brought longer breaks at the expense of observing Martin Luther King's birthday and Veterans Day. It was vetoed by the board, but he did get permission to change the school calendar in other ways.

Rearick had argued that the current calendar gives students ample time off in the first semester, but not in the second. They get burned out and need a mental rest, especially in the spring, he said. Studies show that the learning curve is better with periodic longer breaks, he said.

He also said that Martin Luther King's birthday and Veterans Day merely meant days off for students to go skiing or to the mall. King, World War II and even the Vietnam War are ancient history to them, he said, suggesting that if classes were held on those days, special programs and lectures could be scheduled that would focus on their real meaning.

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He said Friday the new school year will start on Aug. 24 instead of Aug. 28 and run one day longer, to June 6. In addition, he now has permission to cut the number of days off for deer season from two to one.

Only one other Franklin County school district, Fannett-Metal, in the rural northern part of the county, still has a two-day break for buck season, he said, adding he has seen little opposition to cutting Greencastle-Antrim's hunting break to one day.

Currently, students get a one-day break from classes in February. Starting next year it will extend to three days. The annual break in April will go from two to four days, he said.

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