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School Board Addresses Impact of Snow Days

By Staff | Feb 18, 2010

Snow days–how to make them up and how to handle scheduled school activities– were addressed during the meeting of the Board of Education of Emmetsburg Schools, Monday night.

“So far, we must make up eight days of school,” said Superintendent John Joynt. “The law is that you must attend school for 180 days. As of now, June 1 is our last day of school. “

Joynt presented the results from a survey of staff regarding how they would like to make up the missed days. The results were not as clear cut as the administration had hoped for, but the general consensus was that the staff would like to avoid extending school into June.

“I would recommend to the board right now to go to school March 19, and April 5,” Joynt said. “The last day would then move from June 1 to May 27 if we go to school on the 19th and 5th.”

Friday, Mar. 19 was originally a no school day following parent-teacher conferences scheduled for the previous Thursday. Monday, April 5 was originally a no school day following Easter Sunday.

Joynt explained that if more snow days occur, the Iowa Department of Education (DE) has suggested that the school day be lengthened by 30 minutes to make up for missed days. According to the DE, 11 days of 30 minutes extra per day is equal to one day.

“We want to avoid going in June because we have some educational and community things going on, teachers going to summer school, students wanting to start Iowa Lakes, summer classes, baseball and softball, all kinds of things,” said Joynt. “Certainly, we can go in June. It’s not against the law, but we want to do what’s best for the kids.”

The board then approved making March 19, and April 5 school days. There will be a one-hour early dismissal on March 19.

In calendar-related issues, Joynt noted that the DE had recommended that the staff have more frequent and shorter staff development opportunities.

“For the 2010-2011 calendar, we’re looking at substituting two school improvement days with eight one-hour early dismissals every other Wednesday,” explained Joynt. “The first day of school would be August 25, and the last day would be May 20.”

Joynt added that the DE wanted to see the school district figure weather-related make-up days into the calendar. December 23 could possibly be a snow make-up day, as well as the Monday after Easter, and May 23 through May 27.

The calendar has not been approved as the administration is still seeking input on the proposals.