As we enter the final weeks before our summer break, we are already preparing for the next school year. We are excited to be able to provide you with the school calendar and calendar of events before the start of their summer. The first day of school for new students will be Tuesday, August 20, and the first day of school for all returning students will be Wednesday, August 21.
Our teams have been working diligently to finalize all of the school year’s events to best support families to be a part of the school community, plan ahead for weeknight events, and to allow families to see the entire year at a glance. We would like to share some information and rationale about one major change to the calendar for next year.
Change – Beginning of Year Camping Trip
From the inception of Summit Public Schools, creating strong relationships around shared values and common experiences has been, and always will be, a priority. One of the shared experiences that has historically been part of developing strong relationships is the student camping trip. Over the past few years we have heard important feedback from faculty and students as we have closely examined whether the camping trip is meeting our shared objectives. After careful consideration, we have decided that we will not host a student camping trip this year.
Through our evaluation, we came to understand that the camping trip was not consistently providing a smooth and strong start to the year. Specifically, we understand that being away from home and the inherent lack of sleep this trip involves, at such a busy and critical time, can be difficult. The teacher experience during this time has a direct impact on the the quality of our classrooms at the beginning of the year. Second, we are an organization that values inclusivity for all members of our diverse communities, and we strive to foster a sense of belonging for all students and families. For a wide variety of reasons, we understand that not all families are able to participate in overnight trips. Our goal is to provide meaningful experiences where all of our students and faculty are able to build valuable relationships. Given the challenges we have faced with participation in the camping trip, this original intent has become diluted.
What does this mean?
We still believe the camping trip is valuable experience and a tradition that makes Summit a special place; however, the trip is just one of many experiences we use to build relationships and community. We also believe that we can plan great experiences that will include all students and align with the values of our diverse communities. For the 2019-20 school year, student camping trips will be replaced with an experience that is reflective of our culture and values and meets the objectives in a non-overnight experience. Most of the rich and community building activities that took place during the overnight trip can and will still take place. As we strive to continuously improve the experiences for all students, we will take a step-back to think deeply about logistics and solutions to specific challenges of the camping trip in the future.
As we head into the final weeks of school for this year, we are especially grateful for your partnership and support. We are incredibly proud of the achievements of all of our SPARTANS and are excited about finishing strong in June!
Ayanna, Malia, Dan, and Stefan