Head of School Malcolm Lester celebrates a Nursery friend's birthday

The NPS calendar for 2019-2020, which has the major dates and holidays, is now available. I discussed the calendar at Friday's Parents' Association meeting and appreciated the opportunity to identify the changes and explain the thinking behind them. So that all NPS parents are privy to the same conversation and information, I want to use this space to point out a few changes.

The most noticeable calendar difference is that NPS will be off the entire week of Thanksgiving: Monday, November 25 through Friday, November 29. The Thanksgiving Service will be held on Friday, November 22 at 11 a.m. and we will dismiss immediately following. (Also, Family Service Saturday will take place on Saturday, November 16).

As I explained at the PA meeting, the decision to take the week off as opposed to being in school for a full day Monday and a few hours on Tuesday was done largely to create additional opportunities for family time, travel, rest, and renewal. We will now have nine full days off in a row instead of five. I hope that this will be a plus!

Plenty of students (as well as teachers and parents) get run down during the long stretch from Columbus Day to Thanksgiving, and the half-week of Thanksgiving break can be busy, so we hope the added time brings good health and allows everyone to start fresh when we resume on Monday, December 1.

I realize that for some families, not having school on Monday and for part of the day on Tuesday may present challenges. To that end, the camp organization that runs Christmas Break and Spring Break camps at NPS has said it would be happy to run a camp at NPS on Monday, November 25 and Tuesday, November 26. For those who need childcare during that time, we hope this will help.

Other changes from this year: 1) Spring Break will have an additional day off on the front end; 2) Easter Monday, on April 13, will be a school holiday.

I appreciated this question from the PA Meeting: Does adding these holidays mean that we are taking days away from other school vacations? It does not. We will be in school next year the same number of days as in 2018-2019. The difference—and forgive me for the granularity—is that Labor Day is early in 2019 (September 2) and late in 2020 (September 7). That creates more days than normal in between, so you could say we are spacing the calendar out, which, for the year ahead, gives us some scheduling possibilities that might not ordinarily exist.

Moving forward, I can't say whether NPS will have the full Thanksgiving week off every year – let's first see how it works out next year and how all of the other calendar dates line up in the future. I welcome any calendar questions and thoughts you may have, both now and during the 2019-2020 school year, so please don't hesitate to stop by my office, email me, or give me a call to chat.

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After we had Free Dress the first day back from Christmas Break, 2nd graders liked it so much that they wrote me notes expressing their appreciation—with some gentle arm-twisting for me to consider making it a tradition. Here are some of the letters, either in their entirety or excerpted:

  • Thank you for the free dress day. I very much enjoyed it. Thanks – signing out!
  • I think that this should be a tradition when we come back from a long break. Did you have a nice break? Have a nice year.
  • Thank you for the free dress day. Can we have a free dress day after every holiday break? Thank you for being the head of school.
  • Having a free dress day made it still feel like winter break! Thank you so much! Happy New Year!
  • Thank you for the free dress day! Our class would like free dress day after every break! If that's okay with you!
  • It was so fun. Everyone had fun wearing their free dress. And Happy New Year and I hope you had a good break with your family.
  • We loved the !Free Dress Day! on Monday. It was sooo nice of you. *We ❤️ you*. Please more.

The people have spoken. The tradition has begun. Please mark your calendars: Monday, January 6, 2020 will be a Free Dress Day at NPS!

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Our 2nd graders are not the only persuasive students at NPS. On the first day of February, a few 6th graders waited patiently outside my office as I was finishing up a meeting on a Friday afternoon. When I emerged, one politely presented me with a petition, giving a kind and well-spoken verbal overview before handing me the sheet of paper.

The written request: "A one or two hour delay on Monday because of the Super Bowl." The petition contained about 40 signatures, mainly from students, as well as a faculty member—and someone who, in very neat handwriting, signed it "Anonymous."

When I spoke with the affable organizer of "the Super Bowl Gang," I said that I loved the initiative, creativity, and leadership behind the petition, and explained that I was truly sorry I would not be able to honor the request. That week we had already had a few weather-related delays and an early dismissal, and I was concerned about starting the next week off with a delay, in addition to not having time to announce a Super Bowl-induced delay to families since it was Friday afternoon and the game was two days away.

Well, we have a full year to prepare for Super Bowl LIV (54 if you are not great with roman numerals). I know how these students feel about the matter, but now—in this calendar-themed blog—I will ask the parents: would you like to see an NPS delay the morning after the Super Bowl? And to add more to the mix, today I sat in on the 3rd Grade Readers' Theater and listened to a student read a compelling essay about why NPS should have a delay the day after Halloween.

NPS parents, that is a lot to ponder and I need your help: what do you think about school delays following the Super Bowl and Halloween? I look forward to hearing from you! 

And while you are thinking of your response, please let your children know that we will have Free Dress on Thursday, February 14, 2019!

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