More schools choosing to open in August

Stephanie Choate

In years past, students and teachers didn’t return to school until after Labor Day, leaving all of July and August for vacation.

Now, however, more and more schools open in the last week of August. Milton started opening its schools in August last year, and Superintendent Mary Gormley said she hasn’t received complaints. This year, school in Milton begins Wednesday, Aug. 27.

Starting earlier allows students and teachers to get out earlier in June, and the change was agreed upon in contract talks with the teachers union, Gormley said. When school started in September, snow days sometimes pushed the end of school into late June, she said.

To sweeten the deal for parents, teachers and children, the Milton schools won’t be in session Friday, Aug. 29, meaning students will have a four-day weekend.

“It helps ease the transition back into school after summer,” Gormley said.

Carver, Silver Lake, Milton, Pembroke, Rockland, Sharon and Whitman-Hanson schools all open this month.

Canton is among the towns whose schools will not open until September. The school year in Canton has been starting after Labor Day for decades, and this year’s first-day date is Thursday, Sept. 4.

The Canton schools are holding an extra preparation day for teachers; the focus will be on the growing diversity of students in the district, Superintendent John D’Auria said.

“It’s really a function of a lot of nuance that changes from district to district, related to some of the traditions and thinking of families and teachers,” D’Auria said. “From a family’s point of view, they don’t see schools starting before Labor Day. The end of August is sacrosanct.”

Stephanie Choate may be reached at schoate@ledger.com.