Veterans Day Returns To Hartford School Calendar

Veterans Day is back on the Hartford school calendar

HARTFORD — Veterans Day is back on the city school calendar after residents and the board of education called for its reinstatement as a district holiday.

The board adopted the change for the 2015-16 year during a special meeting at Rawson School last week. This time, when Superintendent Beth Schiavino-Narvaez presented the academic calendar with Nov. 11 marked as a day off, there was no debate from the board.

"We did what you asked us to do," Narvaez said. A few weeks earlier, what initially seemed like a routine approval of the school calendar turned into a lengthy discourse on Veterans Day that ended with the board asking Narvaez to fit the holiday into the schedule.

District administrators said a regional school calendar recommended Nov. 11 as a school day, and that for years, Veterans Day has been recognized in the classroom with special presentations for Hartford students. But several residents and board members argued that a day off is also a proper way to honor veterans.

The district still intends on crafting an academic plan to "remember, honor and celebrate the sacrifices of our veterans," Narvaez said.

A 1995 state law allows public schools to remain open on the federal holiday, as long as students are offered programs on veterans and the history of the day. The first year that Hartford schools were in session on Veterans Day was 2008, district spokesman David Medina said.

About 75 school systems in Connecticut held classes on Nov. 11, 2014, including Hartford, West Hartford and Bloomfield. At Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy, a lineup of veterans, including one of the school's social studies teachers, shared their military experiences with students.

Most districts still observed Veterans Day with a day off, such as New Haven, Bridgeport, Manchester and Farmington, according to the state Department of Education.

City school board Chairman Richard Wareing thanked the board's two student representatives, Classical Magnet School's T.J. Noel-Sullivan and Abraham Fattouh of Bulkeley High School, for their sharp questions and comments at the meeting last month when Veterans Day was up for debate.

"It was really great to see them step up," Wareing said before the recent vote.

Hartford's 2015-16 school calendar includes holidays for Three Kings Day, a religious observance on Jan. 6 that concludes the Christmas season and is especially prominent in Latino culture, and Good Friday. The first day of school for students will be August 25.

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