Archive for Monday, February 25, 2013

Lawrence schools now out of snow days

February 25, 2013


The Lawrence school district will have to adjust its calendar for the rest of this academic year to make up for Tuesday's snow cancellation, as well as any additional cancellations to come.

Superintendent Rick Doll told the school board Monday they had built enough flexibility into this year's calendar to absorb the three previous snow days. But any additional cancellations would have to be made up either by extending the school day or the school year.

Julie Boyle, spokeswoman for the district, said that in previous years the district has either added minutes to the remaining days or added additional school days to the end of the calendar.

Under state law, school districts are required to provide at least 186 days of class for grades K-11 and at least 181 days for grade 12. The law also gives districts flexibility to adjust those numbers, as long as they provide a total of 1,116 hours of instruction.

Boyle said the calendar adopted by the Lawrence school board in August had enough instructional hours to absorb the first snow day on Dec. 20. The calendar also included one day, April 26, designated to make up for an additional snow day, if necessary. That day will be used to make up for Thursday's cancellation.

In addition, Kansas State Department of Education spokeswoman Kathy Toelkes said, the state will "forgive" one additional day for each designated snow day that a district uses. Districts are allowed to build up to five snow days into their calendar.

That means Friday's snow day in Lawrence can be forgiven, as long as the district uses its one designated snow day on April 26.

But Tuesday's cancellation, as well as any further snow days this year, will have to be made up through extended hours or additional days, Boyle said.

Tuesday's cancellation was announced shortly after the Lawrence school board adjourned its meeting Monday night, so board members have not yet discussed how they plan to make up that cancellation.

According to the district calendar, high school seniors are scheduled to take their final exams the mornings of May 15-16.

The last day of pre-kindergarten classes is scheduled for Tuesday, May 21.

The last day for students in grades K-11 is currently set for Thursday, May 23. That's also the day for final exams for high school freshmen, sophomores and juniors.


biggunz 5 years ago

How about this idea....quit getting out early every Wednesday.

Deb Engstrom 5 years ago

Because this time is collaboration time and can't be used for student contact. I can't believe people keep suggesting this. Not only is it a bad idea, but it can't happen.

WBBLover2010 5 years ago

Lawrence schools could quit getting out early every Wednesday. The Eudora schools only get early the second Wednesday of the month, and it works for them. Its not a bad idea and it is something that could happen. It would just be a major change and people don't like change.

JayhawkFan1985 5 years ago

Deb, it could happen. When I was in school years ago the school day was the same length every day. Also, lets make Friday the early release day so families can at least benefit from an extended weekend.

Deb Engstrom 5 years ago

The collaboration time is part of the negotiated agreement and can't be changed in the middle of the year, so it won't help us make up days this year. It can be made up by adding minutes to the day adding days to the end of the year.

Kujay1966 5 years ago


Yes this can happen, and must likely will. The motion just needs to be approved by the board the next meeting. Collaboration time can be taken if approved, and with a motion to change the Academic Calendar for the School District to make up snow days.

Deb Engstrom 5 years ago

I didn't realize that the BOE could modify something in the negotiated agreement until the next round of negotiations. Possibly collaboration time is not negotiated like planning time is, so if I am wrong, I apologize.

Kathy Theis-Getto 5 years ago

Kujay -They can't unilaterally alter the negotiated agreement of which collaboration time is part of. Parts of the calendar are also negotiated.

Ginny Hedges 5 years ago

In the old days, we didn't have to have "collaboration time" and did just fine without it. Just because you don't like the idea, doesn't mean it can't work to make up time lost by snow days.

Chelsea Kapfer 5 years ago

why is it a 'bad idea" that "can't happen"? I don't think getting out on wednesday afternoons is a "good idea". how is less time in the classroom a "good idea"? and of course it can happen. It has happened, not so long ago.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 5 years ago

Deb, I do not know what "collaboration" time means, but it really messes up parents who have to be home to receive kids from the school bus and seem tto not be bele to remember that it is Wednesday. Whatever this time is allotted for, I am sure that some other means can be found that will make the weekly shcedule more reasonable and uniform for all concerned. And anyhow, I have counted 26 days on the school calander diring the year when school is not in session. What is that all about?? (Well, o,.k. 5 were for Christmas Break.............(.Oh my god, we are not supposed to have " Christmas" in taday's anti religious arena) "Middle of the winter btreak"

Kathy Theis-Getto 5 years ago

Well yeoman, if parents can't remember or plan for their children's care, it is certainly not up to the school to accommodate them. Professional development for certified staff is mandated by KBOE regs. I am sorry you don't understand the meaning of collaboration, can't help you there.

Sean Livingstone 5 years ago

Parents should be more engaged into their kids' education. Schools can run out of school days, teachers can teach badly, schools can have drug issues..... if parents refuse to take up the responsibility to teach their kids at home after school, and depend heavily on school, we'll get lousy kids....

elliottaw 5 years ago

adding a few minutes to the school day seems dumb, the kids will not be able to make up the school they missed by adding 5 minutes to the day, just add one more day.

Georgine McHenry 5 years ago

Not sure I "get" this. What is so hard about making up a day or two of school when "safety" issues are the reason for a closure?

Richard Heckler 5 years ago

"What is so hard about making up a day or two of school when "safety" issues are the reason for a closure?"

Exactly. Extend the school year. Keeping bodies, more cars and buses off the street under risky conditions is a smart choice.

This is okay no matter how many times it is deemed necessary. Life will go on.

Considering the circumstances is it truly necessary to make up for snow days? It isn't necessarily the number of days that matter it is the substance of the teaching process. How many students will fail because of snow days? Hmmmmmm.

Jaime Baggett 5 years ago

For those of you who believe Wednesday collaboration is worthless: this is for you. Check the research and tell me what you find out about teachers collaborating with one another without interruption about student achievement. Get back to me when you look up some scholarly articles about that...

sourpuss 5 years ago

Collaboration is important. So is instruction. I would much prefer that students be in class 5 days a week from 10 to 5 (or whatever the standard day is nowadays) and have instructor collaboration and assignment marking the first 90 minutes (from 8-9:30). That way, students do not have to get up so early, which studies have also shown improves learning and exam performance.

And raise teacher pay accordingly for more hours required.

Of course, I'm also a huge believer in year-round schooling with two-week breaks between terms. More pay for this too. There is no reason that k-12 instruction shouldn't be a year-round, 8-5 profession that is paid a good wage.

Richard Heckler 5 years ago

Excellent thinking across the board....

Bring it on!

tecuani 5 years ago

First of all, why don't you cite research that says collaboration time has to take time out of the school day, and that it cannot be an additional thirty to sixty minutes each day after the kids get out. A lot of schools do collaboration time but not all schools do it like Lawrence. Collaboration is great, but it doesn't have to put kids out of school two hours early one day a week.

Smarmy_Schoolmarm 5 years ago

Students could always go to sleep earlier.

Amy Heeter 5 years ago

Jeez, teachers used to collaborate on thier own time. Early dismissal is just another way for the school district to be a pain.

Kathy Theis-Getto 5 years ago

Jeez, when you understand State law, the PNA, PEERA and PERB, it might allow for an intelligent post. Collaboration is no different than the nurses' reports at shift change, and every bit as important.

Maddy Griffin 5 years ago

Cancel Spring Break. These kids cannot aford Cancun anyway.

Richard Heckler 5 years ago

Maybe climate change and global warming will bring a touch of Cancun and a touch of southern California to North Lawrence dirt. Would make year round gardening nice.

Say 38 degree nights and 79 degree days.

Maddy Griffin 5 years ago

Merrill. I have always liked the way you think.Year around gardening would be lovely, but I'm not so sure about the othert drawbacks of climate change.

Funinthesun1 5 years ago

Nobody is suggesting that you don’t collaborate. I believe that you have about 3 months off in the summer to collaborate. If collaboration time is so important and justified by the quantifiable benefits of improved student performance in the classroom and testing outcomes. I would help lead the charge in gaining tax payer of Lawrence support for the incremental cost of a few full day collaboration sessions for the most engaged staff. However, I suspect that quantifiable results would be difficult to document from the current collaboration exercises.
The regression to the mean of our school systems is disturbing at best. In my humble opinion you are there to teach – so teach. That means a full school calendar and full days.
If you want to get together with your peers and pontificate about what could work – do so like the rest of us and do it on your own time and most importantly on your own dime. Leave the hypostasizing and research to the universities – it’s what they are good at. We expect full time teachers! Someone in the school systems please get this right for our children’s sake.

throwdown_wallet 5 years ago

If teachers are collaborating about what works best for specific students or groups of students, it makes more sense to do it during the school year while they have those students. I doubt teachers are sitting around just talking theory during collaboration time. They more likely are working together to deal with specific student issues. And why should they have to do these things on their own dime? Being a good teacher requires a lot of work beyond just the time they are in front of students.

elliottaw 5 years ago

That would mean we would have to pay them in the summer, Brownback would never approve that he barely wants to pay them now

Richard Heckler 5 years ago

Teachers do a lot on their dimes such as upgrading themselves often during summer months.

Teachers often provide school supplies on their own dimes.

Teachers do homework on their own dimes everyday such as grading and creating tests.

The lions share of Lawrence teachers are under paid....... thanks to a majority of Kansas republicans who are against education.

The Sam Brownback administration and their followers should be removed and relocated to China where a dictator government is in place. To live happily ever after.

Richard Heckler 5 years ago

I say forget making up snow days. How in the world can USD 497 schedule snow days when no one knows if or how many snow days Mother Nature might deliver?

Do it as deemed necessary.

Sue McDaniel 5 years ago

Collaboration time cannot go away or change because the teachers will NOT LET IT! No one ever said they did not know a great thing when they get it. If I ever got it, I would not want to give it up either! Does any other position get that time?

And they probably will add a minute to every day which is useless. Why are US kids falling so far behind other countries if this is all so great? Can we always blame parents? I know there are some great dedicated teachers but there are also some in it for the schedule........

hedshrinker 5 years ago

      Team  intercommunication is an ongoing essential part of any human service practice; otherwise you are flying blind without current data.  I resent and disagree strongly with words describing collaboration time as" pontificating, hypostasizing  (sic)and research"; funinthesun among others obviously doesn't understand  that much of the work of any human service workers is not in public view but ESSENTIAL to the mission.  You must think that collaboration among team members is just gossip and donuts.  The old saw about "3 months off in the summer" shows your ignorance of  the realities of professional practice .  I spend hours every week gathering data and planning with families, other medical  and mental health professionals, insurers, the court system, SRS, etc. as well as with my identified client so I can deliver the best possible service to increase lasting positive outcomes.  I speak as a person with decades of professional practice in education and healthcare.  The trivialization of what educators do and how they do it has to change.  Otherwise you deserve the poor service you receive in which providers are ignorant of what one another is doing and don't have a good plan.

Funinthesun1 5 years ago

First off I never stated intercommunication was non-essential. I simply stated show the results of such - if not stop taking teaching time away from the students.

Second - the old saw?? - fact is teachers get 3 months off of a daily schedule. I commend you for the way in which you have chosen to spend those 3 months. I know several that don’t utilize the time as well as you. For any one person to be at the top of their chosen profession - a dedication of time outside of normal hours is required.

Third - Human Service Practice - come on - TEACHER = TEACH!... Teachers teach – it’s what they are good at let them do it.

Fourth - I am in no way trivializing a professional educator (TEACHER) - I do believe it is a very honorable and needed position in our community. In fact - I am in favor of paying these individuals (the good ones, with documented great records) more.

Fifth - I don’t deserve poor service - I receive poor service.

I wish you well as the system falls apart.

Brad Greenwood 5 years ago

Hmmm, state law says the schools have to have a set number of school days, but state law also says the state needs to provide adequate funding for the schools to do so.
Gee, if the state can ignore this law, why can't we? I say to heck with making up the days and let the state take us to court.

kusp8 5 years ago

Not a terrible idea. It'd be fun to see who'd blink first, the Republicans, Brownback and the Sec of Education, or the districts. The courts would love it.

elliottaw 5 years ago

why would Brownback care, pretty sure he wouldn't fight it if we sent the kids to school for a week a year, he would just lessen the funding and move on

SWJayhawk13 5 years ago

If the district is actually concerned about students making up for what they lost on the days they missed, they'll implement make up days. I remember doing them when I was in USD 497, and it wasn't any big deal.

That being said, wouldn't it be cheaper (even if only slightly) for the district to just add a few minutes to the end of each day? Instead of having another one or two full days where they would have to provide breakfast & lunch, all they'd do is add a few minutes on to existing days where they've already provided those meals. It may not be a ton of savings, but it does seem like the district would save some money.

My guess is that the district will go with whatever is the cheapest, even if it isn't in the best interest of the students.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 5 years ago

Oh, whine, whine, whine, "We just might have to have 2 or 3 more school days in April."

So damned what???????

LadyJ 5 years ago

Just would like to point out that the last day of school is on a Thursday AND it is only a half day. The day before is early dismissal, really no need for collaboration on that day.

Kathy Theis-Getto 5 years ago

Elementary teachers collaborate at the end of the year to make suggestions for class placement for the coming year, an important activity. The calendar is set and collaboration is a negotiated item.

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