Opinion

Wait—why is there a PD Day in June?

Ian Mendes found out his daughters have a PD Day today—and he's not impressed.

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Ian’s daughters Lily and Elissa have a PD Day today. Photo: Ian Mendes

As a kid, I used to love PD Days. (I’m actually so old that I think they called them PA Days when I was growing up.)

These days off were heavenly gifts sent from the school gods—even better than snow days because you knew when they were coming. It was a day off from learning about integers or being forced to square dance with the awkward girl who had cold, clammy hands. An escape from school also meant you could probably eat Kraft Dinner for lunch instead of having the same damn sandwich for the 35th consecutive day. For kids, PD Days are a win-win proposition: better lunches, fewer square dances.

But when you are a kid, you never stop to think about PD Days from the parent’s perspective. PD Days are often chaotic for working parents who have to scramble to find child care arrangements for these one-off days. A lot of parents of elementary school kids are forced to take vacation days to look after their children on PD Days. This happened to us a couple of months ago after my wife started working again, and I had to take the day off work to look after the kids.

I figured that was the last PD Day on the schedule until my wife mentioned to me on Monday of this week, “Did you know that Friday is a PD Day?”

I was completely stunned by this news because I had no recollection of there being a PD Day in June when I was a kid. It snuck up on me like one of those dentist appointments I had booked six months ago and then the receptionist leaves a reminder voice mail a couple of days before.

Now, I have fond memories of PD Days as a kid, but I certainly don’t remember getting a day off from school in early June. Summer holidays are just around the corner, so this PD Day feels very annoying from the parent’s perspective. In three weeks, we need to start lining up day camps, activities and child care for the summer. And this random day in June just feels like a bit of an extra punch to the gut.

What’s odd is—in certain school board’s in Ontario, anyway—there is another PD Day scheduled for Friday, June 26th—meaning the month of June is the only one on the calendar with two PD days. The last day of school is technically Thursday, June 25th for elementary school kids.

I know that the purpose of today’s PD Day is ostensibly for the teacher’s to fill out year-end report cards for their students. But does the entire school system need to shut down for a full day for teacher’s to fill out report cards? I’m certain they could devise a system where each teacher is allowed to take a day off in the final month of the year to prepare report cards and have a substitute fill their spot in the classroom. That seems like a nice compromise because teacher’s still get their day off school to do report cards and parents don’t have to take the day off work to look after their kids.

I’ve looked ahead to next year’s approved school calendar for the province of Ontario and, once again, they have scheduled a PD Day for Friday, June 10th. It would be nice if they could look at eliminating this late PD Day in the future. In my opinion, it’s too close to the end of the school year for parents who already have to juggle their schedules to make things work for the summer.

Follow along as Ottawa-based sports radio host Ian Mendes gets candid about raising daughters, Elissa and Lily, with his wife, Sonia. Read all of Ian’s The Good Sport posts and follow him on Twitter @ian_mendes.

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