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— The traditional Thanksgiving Day dinner doesn’t change much from year to year, but the number of days public school students take off for Thanksgiving is changing.

Most districts in Northwest Arkansas now give students a full week off, meaning three days off is turning into an old tradition.

Springdale was one of only four school districts in Washington and Benton counties holding classes Monday and Tuesday. The other districts are Siloam Springs, Elkins and West Fork.

Gravette students will attend school Monday, and they are off for the rest of the week.

“Three days was probably the norm in Arkansas (years ago),” Decatur Superintendent LeRoy Ortman.

Rick Schaeffer, public information officer for Springdale, said Superintendent JimRollins believes attending class Monday and Tuesday provides the best balance for getting adequate school time during the spring and fall semesters. They do not want to go too far into summer, and state law mandates that schools start on Aug. 19.

Elkins Superintendent Mike Harris said one advantage to holding school is the school year will end earlier.

“Every day you can get in, it allows you to get out sooner,” Harris said.

Bentonville Superintendent Gary Compton said a full week is the best fit for the community, which is the home of Wal-Mart’s headquarters.

Many people who work for the company move to Bentonville from other places, Compton said. The full week gives them more time to travel.

Some parents do work Monday and Tuesday, but the calendar is made in advance so they can plan, he said.

News, Pages 8 on 11/25/2009

Print Headline: Many schools offer holiday week off

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