EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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February 25, 2014

N.H., Mass. schools have separate vacations

N.H. residents like school vacation week separate from Bay State

Sarah St. John, owner of Pinball Wizard in Pelham, is in the midst of a busy two-week stretch. With Massachusetts school vacation last week and New Hampshire school vacation this week, St. John has seen a steady rush of customers at her arcade.

“The two separate weeks really helps us out,” she said. “We don’t get too overcrowded and the days are busier than they normally would be.”

Readers like the fact New Hampshire and Massachusetts schools stagger their vacation weeks. It was one of “603 Reasons” people think New Hampshire\ is special.

New Hampshire students enjoyed the first day of their week off yesterday. Their parents had mixed opinions of the placement of the week.

“I am so glad that the week is different from Massachusetts,” Gloria Lavoie of Salem said. “There are so many places I won't go to when I know that it is school vacation in Massachusetts. I cannot imagine how crazy and busy places would be if both states shared the same vacation week.”

But the scheduling poses a dilemma for for some, including Kristen Rench of Derry.

“It’s difficult to plan things,” she said. “My kids have cousins in Massachusetts they don’t get to see that much. It would be easier if they could spend some time during this week with each other.”

Local school boards are in charge of creating district calendars each year.

“New Hampshire Department of Education has a suggested calendar,” Timberlane School Board Chairman Rob Collins said. “We typically just follow that.”

Judith Fillion, the director of program support for the New Hampshire Department of Education, said there is no academic benefit in having February vacation a week later than Massachusetts does. But there could be economic benefits.

“A lot has to do with ski areas,” she said. “They like it as two separate weeks.”

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