As a follow-up to my post on the Baltimore Blizzard of February 2010, our school superintendent (CEO) finally announced Wednesday how we were going to make up the snow days. Almost two months to the day after the storm hit. And, guess what?
I predicted it!
Not a single one of the nine snow days will be made up instructionally!
But there are several indications that most of the instructional time missed due to snow will not be made up:
1) Last year, the 3-4 snow days we had were added to the end of the school year in June, after final exams were over and grades were turned in.
2) Our state superintendent has already declared that she will approach the state school board seeking a waiver of the requirement that students attend school for 180 days.
In fact, this is indeed what came to pass. Our school district’s superintendent/CEO got approval from the state superintendent and school board to waive (cut) five days outright. The other four days were added after final exams. The last day of school has been postponed to June 16th from the originally-scheduled June 10th, but final exams still begin for students on the same day as planned: June 7th.
To make things more annoying, in their Wednesday announcement the district decided to extend third quarter by a week, even while (effectively) not extending the school year. And when is the best time to make such an announcement, delivered in a letter to students, parents, and teachers? Rather than allow teachers time to plan ahead for the quarter transition, why not wait until the afternoon of the (originally-scheduled) last day of third quarter, by which time teachers had been instructed to already have administered midterm exams, tally up grades for students’ third quarter work, and enter those grades in the online grade reporting system?
Not to sound cynical or anything 🙂
Ah, the absurdities of the Baltimore City Public School System! To clarify, extending the third quarter is not absurd. This translates to us having 40 instructional days in third quarter (really more like 37, due to the six half days that nobody even thinks of making up), and 36 instructional days in fourth quarter (well, less really, due to the state standardized testing days in there). What is absurd is 1) throwing make-up-snow-days on to the year after final exams when courses are over, and 2) notifying teachers of the change in quarter dates on the last day of the quarter. As Epiphany in Baltimore said the day he got the news, “It was a frustrating day to teach in Baltimore City today.”