Inside Look at the Making of the School Calendar


Long awaited Christmas and Thanksgiving are upon THS and the Truckee-Tahoe Community. As the festivities approach, students, families, and teachers are planning their schedules and trips. The three days of Thanksgiving Break, and Winter Break starting two days before Christmas mock every traveling family. TTUSD’s Winter Break for 2022-23 is from December 23rd to January 9th. 

TTUSD Communications Director Amber Burke spoke on the central goal of making the calendar. “Everyone has positive intent. We are working to make sure students are in school for the appropriate amount of time.” 

The Calendar Committee starts planning for the calendar two years ahead. This committee is made up of representation from the TTEA (Tahoe Truckee Education Association), CSEA (California School Employees Association), parents, administration, and a Board Member. 

“There is a lot that goes into all of these decisions,” Burke adds. After the calendar is written, it has to be sent to the Board of Trustees. Then, the start date and end date are approved.

Contractually, students have to be in school for 180 days per year. The calendar is set to include five extra days allotted for snow days, or for other school disruptors such as smoke days. Some years if the district does not use all of the snow days, then school ends early based on how many are left. However, the situation is different if they go over the five days. At that point, a decision goes to various people in the state. 

In regards to Winter break, Christmas falls on a Sunday this year. “Because of the way Christmas falls this year, that is why we start on the 23rd,” Burke says. “As Christmas moves more into the week, then break would start the week prior.” So, the decision on Winter Break this year was solely based on where Christmas falls on the calendar this year.

Breaks like Spring Break and Ski Skate Week are decided on the reality of the community. Weather, snow sports, and tourism largely affect locals and their schedules. Roads being filled with cars from people visiting from out of town is something that everyone in the area has to deal with. 

Katie Jamison-Bensley, a THS teacher, says, “I am excited to not be blacked out and actually be able to ski. Also, there won’t be a million people here.” In regard to Winter Break and the nature of the community’s ski season. 

Burke said, “A lot of the decisions are multi-prompt. On what’s best for the students. Making sure that we are adhering to the amount of time we need to have students in school. But also some of the external factors.” 

For example, Spring Break 2023 is from April 3rd to 7th and was moved forward a week. According to Burke, this is because there are about 40 to 50 students who are going to be out of school for the Nationals ski competition during that week. Burke said, “Certainly not a vast majority, but a pretty big chunk of students were missing the first week of April anyways. This is for the Nationals skiing competition.” There are over 4,000 students in the district and 0.01% of students are accounted for. 

The committee also works to make an even amount of time in between breaks. They consider the amount of time between to stay consistent with learning, but also the length that students and teachers can work for. However, Ski Skate week was not moved. 

Additionally, teacher work days and minimum days are contractually determined by the TTEA but these days are decided by the Calendar Committee. 

The people working in the Calendar Committee try to acknowledge and consider every scenario within the district. If it is the weather, tourism, sports, or just personal schedules, Burke says, “Everyone is considered.”