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Three different spring breaks for tri-lakes schools

LAKE PLACID - Three school districts in the North Country that have traditionally shared the same schedule for spring break have conflicting calendars this year, a shift that worries some administrators and has others discussing the educational benefits - and drawbacks - of school vacations.

The Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake and Lake Placid central school districts are all on separate spring break schedules - a change that affects some students at the Adirondack Educational Center, more commonly known as Franklin-Essex-Hamilton BOCES.

Most school districts in New York take one week off in late February and another in mid-April, while the school districts covering the Tri-Lakes area traditionally take one two-week break in April.

This year, things will be different.

In Tupper Lake, for example, students and faculty will take one week in late February and another in mid-April.

Saranac Lake has scheduled its spring break for the first two weeks of April, while Lake Placid's break extends over the second and third week of the month.

"We're really looking to mirror most of the rest of the state, and in particular the north end of our county," said Seth McGowan, superintendent of the Tupper Lake Central School District. "The BOCES that we belong to has a calendar where there is a split in the break."

McGowan said it makes sense to mimic school schedules shared by a majority of districts statewide.

He also notes there's an educational benefit to being away from school for just one week as opposed to 14 days.

"I certainly think there's virtue to it," McGowan said. "There's an advantage to not being away from a learning environment for two full weeks, for sure."

Last February, the board of education in Saranac Lake discussed splitting up its spring break as well.

That conversation sparked a thoughtful debate among teachers, parents, and students. Some agreed with McGowan's sentiment - that two weeks away from school has negative effects on a student's ability to learn.

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