Monday, February 15, 2010

No need for a waiver -- MCPS already has a plan

It seems that just about everyone is tossing around ideas about what MCPS might do to make up school days that have been missed as a result of the recent heavy snow.

Some people are suggesting that spring break might be shortened.

Others are suggesting that a waiver might be granted to allow some or all of the missed days to not have to be made up.

But as it turns out, MCPS already has a documented plan in case school has be closed for more than four days due to weather emergencies.

Missed School Days
The weather contingency plan adds instructional days to the end of the scheduled school year and from the planned spring break if schools are closed for more than four days due to excessive weather emergencies.

The MCPS calendar lays out the plan quite clearly.

School Contingency Calendar, 2009-2010
If the school year should be disrupted by emergencies and schools are closed, the school year will be extended.
If schools are closed... The school year will be extended by...
5 days one day to June 17, 2010
6 days two days to June 17 and 18, 2010
7 days three days to June 17, 18, and 21, 2010
8 days four days to June 17, 18, 21, and 22, 2010
9 days five days to June 17, 18, 21, 22 and 23, 2010
So there you have it. No need to speculate about waivers, changes to the spring break, extensions to the school day, or anything else. A plan is in place.


  1. So what - they have a plan. Plans get changed all the time when it's the right thing to do. Bottom line is that we are now talking about extending school by a week. Nothing gets done in the last 2-3 days anyway. Waive it and stop whining about lost days. In the big picture, the lost days will mean nothing.

  2. To Anonymous: What makes changing the plan the "right thing to do" in this case? Are their extenuating circumstances that would make it impractical for MCPS to hold school on June 17 to 23?

  3. Actually, Superintendent Weast is a huge advocate for year round schooling. Extending school into the summer is just what he has been wanting to do for years. Clearly, he believes a lot can get done then.

  4. How about summer camps, vacations, college visits, sports camps/tournaments, etc. that were already planned months ago? All education does not occur in school. Nor is the minimum number of days some magic number that has correlation to education. It is an arbitrary number which was arrived at through budgets, unions and legislators/administrators. No one can prove that elimination of five days will hurt students either in the short run or the long run. This is much ado about nothing.

  5. The school calendar has been available since long before the start of school and it clearly shows that the school might continue until June 23. Those who made plans for activities before June 23 took a risk and they might now have to change their plans or miss several days of school.

    The minimum number of days of school is not a magic number, but there is no question that teachers would have to cut some material from their classes if the school year were shortened and students would lose out. Superintendent Weast is always worried about "damage to children" (his words). Wouldn't cutting the school year by a week damage children? And if not, how many school days can be eliminated before children are affected?

  6. What about having school other dates like
    "Tue, April 6, 2010 Professional day for teachers " , for example? The teachers could do their work without missing school

  7. Since you already conceded that the number of days is arbitrary - how will cutting them necessarily "damage" our children? Obviously at some point there is damage but when we are talking about approximately 2.5% of the school days, I'm not sure anyone can make a reasonable case. Also, just because the school calendar was published doesn't mean that it is reasonable to expect that we would have record snowfall. Not only would you be extending by five days but it would effectively wipe out the entire next week as well. Most camps start on Monday. I for one am not willing to have my children miss a week of camp that they enjoy so they can re-arrange and clean their desks for a few days.

  8. Professional days are days that are set aside to write report card comments and to figure out grades. As a teacher, I can tell you that I spend two full days (usually a weekend) and the professional day to write the comments and to figure out grades. So taking away a professional day is not a good solution.

    Also, extending the school year is a big joke since all test scores are due by the end of May. All textbooks and other school materials are due the first week of June. So we are already scheduled to be in school for two weeks without any teaching materials. Extending the school another week will make it three weeks without teaching materials. Awesome isn't it???

  9. If the number of days is reduced, then the students will learn less. That's the damage.

    But the main point is that the school calendar includes a plan for dealing with unusual amounts of snow, but now some voices in the school system want to set the plan aside. Why publish a plan if you are going to disregard it when it is time to use the plan?

    If the plan was really to end school on June 16, no matter how many days were skipped because of weather emergencies, then why not just say that in the calendar?

    As for your concern about due dates for test scores and textbooks, is there any reason that those dates can't be extended?

    And any idea why test scores and textbooks are due in May? This is news to me, and it raises some new concerns.

  10. There are 4 days put into the calender for snow days. when was the last time they used all 4 of the days in 1 year?
    They are built in there for a reason why not use the extra ones from the year before for this year?
    They do absolutly nothing the last week of school but they make so they go in the last day.
    They have to get their pink slip or no report card.Last year we slept in and I took them in late. Turned everything in got the pink slip and left.


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