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Snow days affect on school calendar

 

SUPERINTENDENT’S COLUMN

BY BARRY CAIN

As we all are well aware, we have had quite a start to our winter and it has had its impact on our schools as we have had four snow days as of the date I am writing this column. Below is information about how these days have impacted our calendar and elements we need to consider on a yearly basis as we build our calendar.

The first thing to know is that when we build our school calendar each year, we build in two “Snow Make Up Days.” These days are built as days off of school in the calendar that automatically become school days when we have our first two snow days each year. These dates this year are April 10 (Monday after Easter) and June 2 (an extension of the school year by one day). These days provide us with a consistent way in which we deal with the first two snow days and usually give us enough days in which we do not need to add days or minutes to the calendar each year. Many school districts do not include these days built into their calendar and simply make the decisions later in the year on how they will deal with the number of snow days they have.

The second factor we need to annually consider is the state mandated instructional minutes that all school districts must complete each year. Our daily schedules at each building provide for these minutes and we have additional minutes built in each year to provide some flexibility. As we have days off school that are unexpected, we monitor these minutes and look at avenues to meet the requirement that may include adding days at the end of the school year or adding a number of minutes each day for a period of time. Both of these have been done in the past and are nothing new to school operations.

There are other factors that come into consideration such as our June summer school, our graduation ceremony date, etc., but the two listed above are the two most influential. As we go through this winter and spring, we will continually monitor any adjustments that need to be made. Four snow days at this point in the winter is definitely outside the norm but is not something we have not dealt with before. They are simply part of living in the area in which we live.

Barry Cain is the Ellsworth Community School District superintendent

January 10, 2023