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Forum -> Chinuch, Education & Schooling
Do more centrist / MO schools keep more to secular calendar?



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amother
OP


 

Post Wed, Sep 27 2023, 3:56 pm
Our kids aren't yet school age and we lean more MO. Do *all* frum schools -- including more centrist / MO / left-wing ones -- adhere to a more Jewish school calendar than a secular school calendar?

Husband and I both have jobs in the secular world, and we work during col hamoed, on YT supposed
"traveling" days, etc. For people working secular jobs, it seems like it'd be totally annoying if kids are off for 2 weeks between YK and a few days after ST, etc.
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mha3484




 
 
    
 

Post Wed, Sep 27 2023, 4:00 pm
Where I live the Co Ed MO Elem and HS keep the secular calendar. Their winter vacation is the same as your average public school in December.

The Centrist school that is single gender but not yeshivish has the January midwinter but generally the schedule is a little more friendly to those who work secular jobs in regards to legal holidays, fast days, isru chag.
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Ema of 5




 
 
    
 

Post Wed, Sep 27 2023, 4:02 pm
My kids who are in MO schools have off the entire pesach and succos. The different between them and my kids who are in more right leaning schools is how much they have off before and after the chagim.
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mha3484




 
 
    
 

Post Wed, Sep 27 2023, 4:06 pm
Where I live all the schools have websites with calendars you can look at and see what works for you. I dont know of any that have school chol ha moed. So I agree with ema of 5.
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amother
Cyan


 

Post Wed, Sep 27 2023, 4:08 pm
MO schools in Bergen County and similar schools on Long Island etc have January vacation (though there is an initiative to align that with MLK day), secular holidays are off like labor day, memorial day, president's day and new years day. As far as Jewish holidays the schools close erev yom tov and chol hamoed. Isru chag and the days between YK and Sukkot are always school days. Most of the families have two working parents and the schools try to take that into account when they plan their calendars. In the schools I send to we generally get the calendar for the next school year in the spring so working parents have sufficient time to plan.
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amother
Papayawhip


 

Post Wed, Sep 27 2023, 4:13 pm
I grew up in a pretty modern school. We always had off all of Pesach- I think it's the very rare school that actually goes Pesachdik and runs school. We originally had school on Succos, but that ended. First, it's logistically very difficult. And you run into the same problem as you do with some of the traveling days- a huge percentage of the kids are gone. Because even with a multitude of parents working the secular calendar, many manage to plan their days around this and take their kids away, or they get visited and don't go. They may lose good teachers to schools that will give them these days.

At this point, you may get chol hamoed Succos, maybe, and an early dismissal on erev chag bs the day off. Isru chag is a point of contention- many teachers insist the kids are a mess and a quarter aren't there and don't show up until hours late. I've seen different schools make different decisions for different days (kind of like a lot of right wing schools will have school isru chag Shavuos).

The winter break thing is very dependent on whether this is tri state. In the NY/Northern NJ area, pretty much all schools give the January break. The more modern ones will give you Dec 25 and Jan 1, as will the more right wing ones who can't function without bussing. Outside this area, a lot more modern schools give the December break.
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amother
Maroon


 

Post Wed, Sep 27 2023, 4:16 pm
You hire babysitters. My parents both worked full time in big non Jewish corporations and we had a full time nanny. Even when all of us were in school she stayed in the house in case we got sick or needed to be picked up.
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amother
Pistachio


 

Post Wed, Sep 27 2023, 4:33 pm
Yes and no. The MO schools definitely do care more about the needs of working parents and really do try to minimize unnecessary days off/half days. And they do give legal holidays off (except Xmas and New Years) and most give January break though there are a few exceptions that give December break. All give off for chol hamoed Pesach and other than Ramaz, SAR, and a scant few others, chol hamoed Sukkos is also off. However, you're definitely not getting days and days off before, nor are you getting isru chag off either. The exception is Pesach. Usually isru chag following Pesach is off and usually a day or two before erev pesach as well, but definitely not a whole week before or anything like that.
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amother
Plum


 

Post Wed, Sep 27 2023, 4:54 pm
I think that ramaz and sar are more on the public school schedule regarding winter break. sar I think has school chol hamoed sukkkos
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amother
Lightpink


 

Post Wed, Sep 27 2023, 4:57 pm
SAR and Ramaz (I went to both) have school on Chol Hamoed Sukkot, as both schools are in communities where that bulk of the students live in apartments and don’t have sukkahs. When I was in SAR, my parents were on the PTA and it was discussed extensively.

I remember in SAR, we spent the day going on a school bus and having sukkah hops, and learning some Torah, doing art projects and eating chocolate Entenmann’s donuts with chocolate milk in the school sukkah. I don’t remember any actual learning taking place.
(I believe Ramaz only has a day or 2 where they have a simchat Beit Hasoevah in the sukkah and real classes do not take place)

Winter break was also highly discussed and debated. My parents were very much in favor of the end of December break because it enabled us to go away as a family and have a vacation as opposed to my parents staying home and cleaning closets on their vacation and needing to hire babysitters to basically do nothing with us during ours.

As I live in Bergen County, I have a house with a sukkah, and I as I don’t work for the DOE like my mom did, I B”H have the ability to select my vacation days. (And benefit from it not being prime travel season)

I really hear both sides.
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amother
Emerald


 

Post Wed, Sep 27 2023, 6:12 pm
My kids are in MO school. It's tricky but doable. They have chol hamoed off and erev for some chagim, but not all. They have winter break in January. Sometimes they make it the same week as MLK Day, but for some reason they can't manage to do that every year. BH we have help from grandparents, but there are also some childcare options from the community that help working parents-- backyard camps, daycares with minicamps, etc. It sounds like more right wing schools are more challenging for working parents -- they seem to have a lot more random days off for things like pesach cleaning, at least according to imamother.
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amother
Obsidian


 

Post Wed, Sep 27 2023, 6:17 pm
I worked in an MO school. We had school on chol hamoed sukkos, no chanukah break, school on Purim, etc. However, no school on chol hamoed Pesach. I doubt any Orthodox school would do so, it's just too tricky foodwise. We also always had off erev chag, for every YT. A lot of families traveled for the holidays.
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amother
OP


 

Post Wed, Sep 27 2023, 7:31 pm
Thanks all. Very helpful info.

amother Maroon wrote:
You hire babysitters. My parents both worked full time in big non Jewish corporations and we had a full time nanny. Even when all of us were in school she stayed in the house in case we got sick or needed to be picked up.


Woah, how many families these days pay a nanny just to sit around all day to be on call in case a kid gets sick? Are there wealthy frum communities where this is common? We do decently as a two-income family and don't have to struggle ever BH, but money doesn't grow on trees for us such that we can afford to waste money like that.
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cnc




 
 
    
 

Post Wed, Sep 27 2023, 8:14 pm
amother Lightpink wrote:
SAR and Ramaz (I went to both) have school on Chol Hamoed Sukkot, as both schools are in communities where that bulk of the students live in apartments and don’t have sukkahs. When I was in SAR, my parents were on the PTA and it was discussed extensively.

I remember in SAR, we spent the day going on a school bus and having sukkah hops, and learning some Torah, doing art projects and eating chocolate Entenmann’s donuts with chocolate milk in the school sukkah. I don’t remember any actual learning taking place.
(I believe Ramaz only has a day or 2 where they have a simchat Beit Hasoevah in the sukkah and real classes do not take place)

Winter break was also highly discussed and debated. My parents were very much in favor of the end of December break because it enabled us to go away as a family and have a vacation as opposed to my parents staying home and cleaning closets on their vacation and needing to hire babysitters to basically do nothing with us during ours.

As I live in Bergen County, I have a house with a sukkah, and I as I don’t work for the DOE like my mom did, I B”H have the ability to select my vacation days. (And benefit from it not being prime travel season)

I really hear both sides.


Do any of the families go away for YT? Israel, Mexico, programs etc.... ?
Is school optional over chol hamoed?
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amother
Nemesia


 

Post Wed, Sep 27 2023, 8:20 pm
amother OP wrote:
Thanks all. Very helpful info.

Woah, how many families these days pay a nanny just to sit around all day to be on call in case a kid gets sick? Are there wealthy frum communities where this is common? We do decently as a two-income family and don't have to struggle ever BH, but money doesn't grow on trees for us such that we can afford to waste money like that.


They don't sit around all day. They run the house.
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amother
OP


 

Post Wed, Sep 27 2023, 8:29 pm
amother Nemesia wrote:
They don't sit around all day. They run the house.


Oh, a general live-in housekeeper / maid. The other poster used not the most clear language.
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amother
Anemone


 

Post Wed, Sep 27 2023, 8:32 pm
amother OP wrote:
Thanks all. Very helpful info.

Woah, how many families these days pay a nanny just to sit around all day to be on call in case a kid gets sick? Are there wealthy frum communities where this is common? We do decently as a two-income family and don't have to struggle ever BH, but money doesn't grow on trees for us such that we can afford to waste money like that.

Schools are not a babysitter. You need someone avaliable for sick kids anyway. Most people who have 2 parents who work full time have a babysitter or a nanny. Thats just the reality of what they need to do. Its a difficult choice that parents have to make and it is different for everyone. For some people they choose to work from home, work part time, get a nanny/ babysitter, or more flexible jobs. One solution doesn't work for everyone
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amother
Lightpink


 

Post Wed, Sep 27 2023, 8:46 pm
cnc wrote:
Do any of the families go away for YT? Israel, Mexico, programs etc.... ?
Is school optional over chol hamoed?

So first of all, I went to school in the 80’s. I believe going away for YT was much less common then across all communities.

But people did go away. I don’t think anyone went to a program in Mexico in the 80’s, but people definitely went to grandparents in California or Canada. As I think I said above, it was a day of donuts and art projects. You definitely didn’t miss any school if you were not there (but you might have missed good candy in the Rabbi’s sukkah and who vomited from drinking 4 chocolate milks.)
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amother
Pistachio


 

Post Wed, Sep 27 2023, 9:37 pm
cnc wrote:
Do any of the families go away for YT? Israel, Mexico, programs etc.... ?
Is school optional over chol hamoed?


I went to Ramaz, school was basically optional on chol hamoed sukkos. Lots of families did go away, and school that week was basically party in the sukkah and field trips. Plenty of my former classmates send their kids to Ramaz and from what I gather it's still basically the same in that regard.
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nylon




 
 
    
 

Post Thu, Sep 28 2023, 1:00 pm
This also depends on where you live. Outside of NY/NJ the schools are more likely to line up with the public school/secular calendar because they have more non-Jewish teachers and staff.
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