Students take part in an outdoor art class at the Jenks Junior High School Complex in Pawtucket Wednesday afternoon. This scene might be even more common due to the extended school year. Photo/Ernest A. Brown
PAWTUCKET â€” While Woonsocket students will be the first in the Blackstone Valley to begin their summer vacations with the last day of school on June 19, most other Valley schools, including Pawtucket, East Providence and Central Falls, will have their final days of the academic year somewhere during the week of June 20-26.
Blackstone-Millville Regional School students wonâ€™t be leaving for the summer until a full nine days later on June 28.
Thanks to Hurricane Sandy in October, a record-breaking blizzard in February and a late blast of winter that blew through the Northeast in March, school districts from Woonsocket to Pawtucket have had to use anywhere from four to seven snow days this year, forcing schools to amend their calendars and extend the school year.
Making up those days at the end of the school year has pushed the final day of classes for most schools well into the third week of June and, in the case of Cumberland, Pawtucket, Foster-Glocester and Blackstone-Millville, to the last week of June - barring any more storms.
In Rhode Island and Massachusetts, school officials are required to schedule at least 185 days of school and operate the schools for at least 180 days. When school is canceled for weather or other events, students must either make the days up at the end of the school year or replace them with school vacation days.
In Rhode Island, state law requires schools to operate 180 days for students; 171 for seniors; and 183 for teachers.
â€śTeachers go a few days beyond the 180 days because of professional development days, orientation and parent teacher conferences,â€ť says Woonsocket Teachers Guild President Jeffrey Partington.
According to Partington, teacher union contracts do not allow for the extension of the school year past June 30.
Here are the dates for the final day of the 2012-13 academic year for schools in the Blackstone Valley and the number of snow/weather days used:
*Woonsocket, Wednesday, June 19, four days.
*North Smithfield, Thursday, June 20, four days.
*Burrillville, Thursday, June 20, four days.
*Lincoln, Friday, June 21, four days.
*Central Falls, Friday, June 21, four days.
*East Providence, Friday, June 21, five days.
*Bellingham, Friday, June 21, five days.
*Cumberland, Monday, June 24, two days.
*Pawtucket, Wednesday, June 26, five days.
*Foster-Glocester Regional, Friday, June 28, five days.
*Blackstone-Millville Regional, Friday, June 28, seven days.
Meanwhile, the dates for area high school graduations are as follows:
Woonsocket, Friday, June 14.
*North Smithfield, Wednesday, June 12.
*Burrillville, Friday, June 7.
*Lincoln, Friday, June 14.
*Central Falls, Saturday, June 8.
*East Providence, Friday, June 14.
*Bellingham, Friday, June 7.
*Cumberland, Monday, June 17.
*Pawtucket, Tolman H.S., June 12; Shea H.S., June 13; and Jenks J.H.S., June 14.
*Foster-Glocester Regional, Friday, June 21.
*Blackstone-Millville Regional, Friday, June 7.