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February 21, 2014 Snow Days and Making Up for Lost Time By Rhonda Stewart
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

    Getting the call this morning for a delayed opening made me rethink the subject for my blog post for this week. Over the past couple of weeks, there have been many conversations among teachers in my district regarding the loss of instructional time with students and how it affects the school calendar. Even on Facebook, there are cries of "enough already," due to the increase of emergency closings due to inclement weather, or in just plain English, “SNOW DAY.”

    This goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway: it's been a very different kind of winter. Ordinarily, I would enjoy the occasional call for a snow day. Being able to snuggle under the covers for an extra few moments without guilt or hitting the snooze button on the alarm clock would put a delicious smile on my face. But this winter has changed all of that. Now, when the phone rings around five a.m., there is a sense of dread. I do understand that safety for our students and staff is paramount during this brutal snowy season and that everyone needs to be out of harm’s way. However, it appears that Old Man Winter has a grudge against school being open for a full week during this winter. I'm sure my situation is not unique.




    Since it is only February and we still have to get through March, I wonder what the rest of the school year will look like. As it is now, for my district, the snow days that are built into the school calendar have all been depleted. We are in the position where we will have to make up those days to meet the state requirements for school attendance. Our make up days come from Presidents' Day and spring break, and we are just about to exhaust those options. As it stands now, I believe that there is one day left for spring break (and we are holding our collective breath). Other districts in my state are exploring the option to go to school on Saturdays. There is even some talk about adding additional time to the school day.



    As frustration builds, it causes us to search for viable remedies to emergency closings. Snow is not the only weather condition that causes havoc to the school calendar. What do other districts across the country do to ensure that during a period of excessive emergency school closings, the missed days are accounted for? Is the school calendar archaic and in need of a makeover?

    Keeping the education of our children as our common goal, we as a profession need to be creative with how our students are taught. I know some districts are using technology to reach their students to lessen the lost of instruction time, which seems to be a viable option. In these cases, lessons are uploaded so that students can stay on track while at home. Fellow blogger Erin Klein has some great ideas for virtual teaching in her post "Digital Learning Never Takes a Snow Day."

    Waiting for spring by The Waiting Tree


    If this winter is a portent of what is to come, we will need to prepare for the winter of 2015. But for right now, I think I will pull the covers over my head and grab some extra snooze time. 

    How is your school making out this winter season? What options are being discussed and implemented? Please share and stay warm and safe during this snowy winter!




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