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Archive for Thursday, February 10, 2011

First Bell: Ideas for avoiding snow-induced cabin fever; Lawrence eludes another snow day; method for making up lost time to be settled Monday

February 10, 2011

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A few education-minded — and snow-packed — items from around the area:

Tuesday’s snowstorm didn’t freeze out classes Wednesday, but that doesn’t mean parents of school-age children have escaped the winter’s cold hand of inconvenience.

Yes, we still have plenty of opportunities for schools to be closed once again because of inclement weather, and it pays to be prepared.

A friend of mine in Wichita — where schools were closed Wednesday because of snow — wrote a nice story outlining games parents could play to help shake symptoms of cabin fever.

Among them: Save a snowman... Build a fort... Dance.

Personally, I’m intrigued about another suggestion: Blow bubbles. Outside, in the cold. I may have to try that one myself...

•••

For what it’s worth, the Tuesday snow that socked Wichita didn’t stand much of a chance of canceling classes here in Lawrence.

Not that Rick Doll was taking any chances.

“I was up but I didn’t stay out long,” said the superintendent of the Lawrence school district, who arises on potential snow days at 4 a.m., then drives streets to check road conditions, sidewalks and school parking lots. “I knew they were going to be good.”

•••

Snow scheduling: Monday night, members of the Lawrence school board will consider deciding how make up time lost when Doll canceled classes Feb. 2.

If, it turns out, such time needs to be made up at all.

As previously reported, the district tentatively needs to add time to the school year, either by extending each school day by a few minutes through the end of the year, or by adding another school day to the end of the academic calendar.

That’s because the district’s previous four “inclement weather” days already are accounted for: The first two will be made up April 15 and 29, as scheduled for in the original school calendar; the other two don’t need to be made up, thanks to state rules that give the district two freebies because officials had planned ahead for two snow days.

The fifth snow day — which arrived Feb. 2 — remains a bit of a wild card. District officials are busy this week, crunching numbers to see exactly how much time might need to be made up, and by whom. That’s because the state requires the district to provide students with 1,116 hours of time in the classroom.

Depending on grade levels, and particular school schedules, some students may need to make up all of the lost time, Doll said. Others may not need to make up any at all.

Perhaps the answer lies somewhere in between.

“We’re just figuring out — exactly — what that is, and double-checking everything,” Doll said. “We do have a little bit of time built into the schedule.”

The board’s meeting is set for 7 p.m. Monday at district headquarters, 110 McDonald Drive.

— The First Bell e-mailbox is always open: mfagan@ljworld.com.

Comments

conservative 3 years, 7 months ago

It isn't really an inconvienence for most people if school stays in session for 5 or 10 extra minutes. However some people may already have tickets for summer vacations based on the supposed last day of school. A few years ago we had plane tickets to go to disneyworld for the day after school let out. Tickets were purchased nine months in advance to take advantage of deals, if they had extended the school year we would have had to skip out on the kids last day of school.

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anonyname 3 years, 7 months ago

When you bought your plane tickets, was it before you'd ever spent a winter in a cold climate? Snow days are not uncommon, nor is the addition of days at the end of the year. If you were truly concerned about your children being in school every possible moment, buying tickets for the date you did may not have been the best idea. However, speaking as someone who's been in education most of my life, it's doubtful that your children would miss anything incredibly academically important on a final, extended day.

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sallyone 3 years, 7 months ago

I to don't think that snow days shouuld have to be madeup at the end of the year, let the kiddos have there vacation, your only a kid once!

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conservative 3 years, 7 months ago

Nope, actually i grew up in Kansas, but other factors like when summer camps are scheduled, other family commitments, and the ability to save seriously on airfare by leaving on that day played into the decision of when to leave for vacation.

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