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Branford is One of Two School Districts in the Area to Hold Class on Veteran's Day

Do you think the students should have today off?

Only a few school districts in the greater New Haven area have school on Veteran’s Day, but those who so, use the day to educate students about the contribution veterans have made and the importance of the holiday.

Most districts, however, will follow the traditional practice of closing schools in honor of the nation’s veterans on Friday, Nov. 11.

A review of school calendars for districts in the region show that only Branford and North Branford will have school that day. Stratford, Orange, New Haven, West Haven, Bethany, Woodbridge, Amity Region No. 5, North Haven, Milford, Hamden, East Haven and Cheshire will close their schools for the holiday.

Cheshire, however, might consider moving to the other group.

Last week, Cheshire Board of Education Chairman Gerald Brittingham asked the other board members to think about holding school instead when they approve the next school calendar. He said using the day to educate students about the importance of Veterans Day might be better than sending them home for the holiday.

“I am an honorably discharged Marine, and I put forth that it is a valuable learning tool,” Brittingham said.

He said he only wanted to start a discussion at this stage and hoped to hear the opinions of parents, veterans and other Cheshire residents about it.

Most towns observe Veterans Day with a formal ceremony. Unlike Memorial Day, which is a remembrance of the nation’s war dead, Veterans Day honors all veterans who served during peacetime and war.

Stratford Board of Education Vice Chairman Charles Lindberg, who graduated from Stratford High School in 1982, said his school district has closed schools on Veterans Day for as long as he can remember.

“It’s always been that way, even back when I was in school,” he said.

Lindberg has served on the board for two years, but he has also been president of several PTAs for the schools his children attended. He said he can’t remember any discussion about whether to hold school on the holiday.

“Traditionally, that is a holiday that we’ve taken off,” said Cheshire School Supt. Greg T. Florio. He added that he is open to a discussion about it, however, and feels that Brittingham’s proposal has merit.

Cheshire schools were closed for four days last week because of power outages from the Oct. 29 surprise snowstorm. Florio said that having school would provide the district more flexibility for its school calendar. He added, however, that any discussion about holding school on Veterans Day should focus on its educational value.

“We made the decision a couple of years ago because we feel the students can better understand the meaning of Veterans Day,” said Branford Board of Education Chairman Frank Carrano.

He said the Branford schools invite veterans to come in and talk to students about their military service and the meaning of the holiday.

“We see it as a much more positive learning experience than to have the kids stay home,” said Carrano, who teaches education at Southern Connecticut State University.

North Branford schools also hold special educational programs on Veterans Day. Children at Jerome Harrison Elementary School (kindergarten-grade 2) will hold an assembly with guest veterans to sing patriotic songs and watch a slide show about Veterans Day. Totoket Valley Elementary School will hold a similar assembly, and children will collect donated gift items for military personnel who recently returned from the Middle East.

Ceremonies and educational activities are also scheduled at the town’s Intermediate School and High School.

North Branford Board of Education Chairman Marcey Onofrio said she has attended several of these observances in past years. “They’re designed to recognize and honor the veterans and troops,” she said.

Brittingham said he is aware that many veterans feel strongly that Veterans Day should be observed as a school holiday. But he said other veterans he has spoken to thought holding educational programs about Veterans Day at the schools was a good idea.

“If we really want to teach kids what veterans have done and what Veterans Day is all about, let’s do it,” he said.

John November 11, 2011 at 12:14 PM
Teach the students about Veterans the day before and honor the veterans on their day.
michele weaving November 11, 2011 at 12:24 PM
No students should go to school. Teach the kids about what a veteran is and why they do what they do for us.
SolarPete November 11, 2011 at 12:39 PM
Why not teach them before veterans day and on this day if it falls on a school day require them to go to the parade as credit for the class They must get someone to sign a card for them Some day these kids might become veterans and will wonder why they had schoolon those days. The main reason is someone in the BOE who never was a veteran doesn't really care because they got the free day off
Bridget Arcand Bergeron November 11, 2011 at 12:46 PM
I agree with Pete but instead of a Parade how about they adopt a Vet for a day and he or she can tell them all about his or her experience in the wars they fought so we could have our freedom.Nothing like learning from a person t hat was actually there.
Bridget Arcand Bergeron November 11, 2011 at 12:46 PM
Sorry and then they write a report on what they learned for extra credit.
ted Aub November 11, 2011 at 01:10 PM
So many areas to educate,many worthwhile educational opportunities here,Frank Carrano and the Branford school system are leaving room for teacher creativity and program diversity .Now its up to the administration and the teachers to formulate a program consistent with the age group of the students.
Kendra November 11, 2011 at 01:19 PM
It seems kids are never in school anymore. Didn't they just have Tuesday off?? I'm sure there's a "Professional Development Day" Lurking within the next week. Add in the upcoming holidays and the 7-10 snow days, I DO think they should be in class today. And I agree w/everyone who suggested making today learning about the Vets and what they've done for our country and the soon-to-be Vets are serving now. I'm sure when school falls on September 11th, a lot about that day is discussed. Same with Vets Day. We're living in such a fast, sometimes shallow world (Kardashians Dominate the news!) I'm all for kids learning about what truly matters.
Nicole Ball November 11, 2011 at 01:25 PM
These teaching suggestions are interesting. I wonder what teachers actually do have planned for today.
ted Aub November 11, 2011 at 01:48 PM
I was fortunate to participate in an event at Quinnipiac University where 600 area high school students had all Military Service represenatives and personnel available to talk to one on one or in small groups to learn of our rich Military History spoken to them by those who wrer there first hand.It was an event where the students were able to talk to rather than be talked at.It was in my opinion a very worthwhile event. Ted Aub Connecticut State Coordinator National League of POW/MIA Families
SolarPete November 11, 2011 at 02:04 PM
I like the adopt a vet for the day They could use this time to go to the VA hospital or see what a parade means for a veteran. The idea of having to write a report is also great in fact they should get extra credit for that. I know when I was a kid with my grand father a WW veteran it made an impact on me. I retired in 1995 from the US Coast Guard after 21 years.
Lauren O November 11, 2011 at 02:42 PM
As long as part of the plan for the day is to have a lesson on the importance of honoring Veterans and some of the older students having some type of service project etc., then I'm all for having school. It looks like Branford's Veteran's Day Parade is Sunday anyway. Is that because school is in session or for a different reason?
Leesan Villa November 11, 2011 at 03:19 PM
When I was growing up we had Veteran's Day off, Washington's Birthday off and Lincoln's Birthday off as well. All President's are not equal in their contributions to this country and I don't agree with "President's day". There are so many 1/2 days for professional developement that I think it's a joke. Believe me a lot of parents do. There is something special when the country is forced to take a day off and celebrate and remember these traditional holidays - holidays that reflect the sacrifice of important people who have helped to shape and form our wonderful nation. Everyone deserves the day off to remember - that includes Teachers too!!!
SolarPete November 11, 2011 at 03:20 PM
When I was in college it was a school day and I went to the provost to ask why. His answer was lame cause he said all the teachers wanted another day off instead of this one. The only teachers who disagreed were veterans, so I'm guessing most who agree on here never were in the military and is no loss to them, but those who are veterans fell differently. If it weren't for the veterans u all might be speaking Japanese or German by now
Bridget Arcand Bergeron November 11, 2011 at 03:30 PM
Thanks Pete,My grandfather was in the Navy for 40 years,he was born in 1901,so many things we learned from him,My dad spent 4 years in Germany from 46-50 in the Air Force.My Uncle was in the Navy due to ship out on the USS Thresher changed places with his best man and we know what happened there. I think it would do the kids a world of good to learn directly from the source. Bridget
Broke Dick Dad November 11, 2011 at 03:43 PM
America's children need MORE time in school, not LESS. But these veterans teaching ideas are fantastic! These ideas also seem like the parent's responsibility to implement, not necessarily the school's. Also note where we live (a Blue State)....this conversation wouldn't be happening in other parts of the country. My colleagues in Alabama have a complete day of rememberance and activities to honor veterans...it's in their DNA.
SolarPete November 11, 2011 at 04:59 PM
Bridget Arcand Bergeron I am puzzled if ur grand father was born in 1901 when did he join the navy? My other question is this Do school kids go to school on MLK day? If they do what are you teaching them? It's called Discrimination Veterans die for their country so folks like MLK can do what he did yet he has a national holiday and school gets out, but on veterans day no big deal What about President day is that also a school day? Fair is fair equal rights for everyone
Bridget Arcand Bergeron November 11, 2011 at 05:35 PM
When he was 18,my Uncle was born in Key West in 1946 and Pip was in the Navy then open his liquor store the year he got out so he was in 34 years not 40.My mistake
Frank Barron November 11, 2011 at 09:12 PM
You should know that Daniel Hand HS in Madison had school today and had a beautiful outdoor assembly for all the students where local veterans came to be honored around the school flag pole. After the ceremony, in which their were songs sung and the marching band performed, the veterans were invited inside for a brunch. The ceremony was a great experience for all of the students and the vets!
Frank Barron November 11, 2011 at 09:18 PM
Some interesting facts showing the history of Veterans Day: · 1918: Major hostilities of World War I ended at the 11th hour on November 11. This day was celebrated as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day. · 1919: On November 11, the very first Armistice Day was celebrated by President Wilson in America. · 1920: Armistice Day was celebrated in a grander manner in France and United Kingdom to pay respect and gratitude to those who lost their lives in the First World War. This day also conveyed the importance of international peace. · 1921 - 1938: November 11 was legally celebrated as a Federal holiday in the US. · 1941 - 1945 and 1950 - 1953: This was the time period when World War II and the Korean War were fought. All the veterans of the wars, including World War I, were honored. · 1954: Armistice Day was legally changed to Veterans Day by President Eisenhower. · 1968: The US Congress passed a law to observe Veteran’s Day on the fourth Monday in the month of October. · 1971-1975: Veterans Day was officially declared on fourth Monday of October in almost all the states of America. · 1975: A law was once again passed to consider celebrating Veterans Day on November 11 as it was originally observed. · 1978: Veterans Day was once again moved to its original date, which is November 11.
SolarPete November 11, 2011 at 09:35 PM
an yet still kids have school on that day I like what Madison does great job
Edward Fast Lazarus November 11, 2011 at 11:34 PM
I believe the answer is not to have a "vacation " day---but if we are serious--- build the day into the curriculum. Ed Lazarus
SolarPete November 12, 2011 at 02:36 AM
Down in Florida for grade schools in Pinellas county they had school but used the day to spend it with veterans the kids had a parade, made things to show how veterans changed their lives and had lunch with them. The kids used it also like a show and tell had friends or family members who are veterans come with them

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