Making Up Is Hard To Do

With the school calendar reeling under sustained blows from Mother Nature, the Board of Ed on Monday briefly debated making up lost time during the February break.

Nearby Monroe actually canceled this month’s vacation.  Students whose parents demand they go to Killington or Aruba or wherever will be given “alternative school work” to do on vacation.

Westport deferred its decision.  We’re actually in pretty good shape — helped in part by the superintendent’s decision to have a full day on Tuesday, a call that became genius when the predicted 6-10 inches of snow suddenly went poof!

We’re just 2 over the limit right now.  But if we get another snow day or 3 — which at this point seems about as natural as the sun rising in the east — what should we do?  Take days out of the April break?  Extend the school year?  Go on Saturdays?  Do something else?

Click “Comments” to respond.  Be constructive — not caustic.  We’re in a new era of civility.

To go along with our new Buffalo-style winter.

It's tough to go to school when you can't see it.

17 responses to “Making Up Is Hard To Do

  1. Richard Lawrence Stein

    Dan let me also throw this query out there…. What should happen if they do knock down or out April break… What is the recourse for the uber wealthy teachers of Westport (pause enjoy chuckle…move on)… Many have booked trips that also have not purchased trip insurance… And decidedly don’t vacation in February for the simple reason of weather….are they SOL or what?!!! Full disclosure I am the husband of a lovely brilliant Staples teacher.

  2. My 8yr old daughter says to cancel Feb vacation, but I think the only fair thing to do, given trips cannot be canceled without severe financial penalties, is to extend the school year like they’ve done in the past. The school year is too short anyway.

  3. My daughter, a junior at Staples, has been gearing up for the Builders Beyond Borders trip to Ecuador in April. She has worked hard to raise the funds for the trip, and is looking forward to working on the water distribution system for a village that has access to water only 15 minutes per month. B3 has been the best extracurricular experience she’s been involved with. We will ssnd her on the trip regardless of the Board’s decision, but then she will be penalized for missing an entire week of school. It would be fairer to distribute the make-up days by taking the staff development day on Feb. 28 and adding a couple to the end of the school year.

  4. This issue depends on what side of the fence you’re on. Parents who have invested considerable money on the family vacation would understandably be upset if it were cancelled unless (as Mr. Stein pointed out) they bought trip insurance.
    What used to annoy me more than that prospect, when my kids were in the school system, was that the quality of their education was constantly being eroded the half day syndrome. Even though the weather forecast would be gloom and doom, school was always “on” and low and behold they would announce an early dismissal. The kids spent more time on the bus than learning anything – and that day was counted as a full day of school!
    We seem to be mired in a few issues – parents are concerned about the quality of education their child is getting – the school administration is always saying they need more money to give our kids a quality education – the teacher contracts ensure that they are to get only 180 days of education! There seems to be no give and take in any area – everyone wants to protect what they have.
    I also have always wondered why the kids need two vacations anyway. Is it parent driven? Is it driven by the administration? Our family always took one of the vacations away – but never both. When you actually tally all the days off, it always seemed like they were at home more than at school. I have noticed in the last few years that another day has been tacked on vacations as staff development day.
    Parents may very well prefer to extend the school year in June – I’m sure the teachers wouldn’t be happy about that either. So, it’s a stand-off. I also don’t think the kids learn much in June anyway.

  5. My son goes to summer camp in the midwest, and the start date is the day after our school is finished. That is because most midwest schools are out the first week in June. While I would rather see the days be taken from February or April breaks, I can understand others’ problem with this. Personally we will comply with whatever the BOE decides. It just seems that the end of the school year should be left alone, due to planned activities like graduation etc..

    • One of the problem with taking away the February break is, what happens if they schedule it and then it snows; they’ll have to cancel school anyway.

  6. It is unfair and unreasonable to deny college bound high school juniors and seniors time off in April to look at schools. Juniors, especially, should not have to choose between valuable class time and the college process. The placement of April break is already bad enough for seniors that need to visit schools in that short four-week April period between getting their admission decisions and choosing a school. A full week of April break is absolutely necessary not just because of vacations. Frankly I think even considering the possibility of cutting into this break is just absurd.

  7. Saturdays are a good choice, especially as it would be only 2 or 3 days. Since half-days count as full-days, just go for 4 hours, no lunch. No extra cost(?), and with several months of lead-time, any scheduling conflicts could be resolved.
    Merging the two vacations into one week has been discussed a few times. The arguments are interesting and lame in both directions. Unless the BOE overrules the Supt, it ain’t happening.
    One thing I’ve never figured out – when there is a 2-hour delay in the morning, why don’t they go 2 hours later to get in a full day?

  8. The Dude Abides

    Forget interrupting the spring break(s). Go on into July if need be. It is not like many have summer jobs waiting. The resume-flattering internships will have to wait. Just think if they had to go 241 days a year like the Germans or Japanese?

  9. How ’bout tire chains, like in the days of yore ? Then everybody would get around.

  10. Just throw them in as mondays and fridays during the vacation week. if you make them great, if you can make a few, cool, if you’re on vacation, enjoy!

  11. How bout during CAPT testing…those days are pretty much worthless…

  12. The parents here have good points, but think about the students. For some of them, Saturday is their only day off. It would not be fair to cut into their weekend. Furthermore, some students have long standing sports commitments every Saturday – I doubt this plan would be very effective.

  13. Mr. Padlin’s idea has real appeal.

  14. As a student, I would prefer having to go to school on two or three Saturdays than having April vacation time cut into. As much as some adults would like to say that we got enough breaks this year, high school is incredibly hectic and full of work. Snow days are no exception to this. Aside from the one snow day after Midterms, I spent all of the other snow days studying or doing work. Cutting into April vacation – an important break for busy students – would be unfair. We can’t control Mother Nature any more than the BOE can.

  15. Staples Junior

    Personally I find that cutting a school break is not inconvenient because of break plans, but because of the fact that I just need a real break by the time April roles around. Even though I had an extra day to sleep yesterday, that doesn’t make me any less tired in the middle of April.

  16. How about planning ahead and building in more time at the end of the year in the event of snow. I am not sure why we need two breaks in February and April particularly with February so close-in to December break. My vote would be one vacation in March, which would allow for additional make-up time at the end of the year. This would also result in less expense as it relates to vacation or childcare coverage for those who work and cannot take off for both vacations.