In June, students to pay price for January's snow holidays

January 23, 1994|By Suzanne Loudermilk | Suzanne Loudermilk,Staff Writer

By June, students in Harford County may be sweating out January's snow holidays as the school system adds on makeup days at the end of the school year.

As of last Friday, schools had been closed seven days because of the weather -- three more than designated in the 180-day school calendar.

One of the snow days will be made up June 10, said Donald R. Morrison, school spokesman. "School officials are leaning toward June 13 and 14" for the other two days, he said.

Harford students have only had three full days of school since Jan. 3 when they returned from winter break. In addition, they've started classes two hours late on four days.

Teachers say they'll get through their curricula, despite the school closings, but that schedule changes do make a difference in the classroom.

"Students return from Christmas break ready to go and do better," said Bel Air High School teacher Robert Handy. "With the interruption now, they'll be looking out the window, wondering about the weather."

Students' attention spans also may flag as the school year continues into mid-June, said second-grade teacher Nancy Charvat. "Once the warm weather starts, their minds are elsewhere," she said.

Meanwhile, area schoolchildren kept busy last week by studying snow-covered hills instead of history.

"I can't wait to sled on the hill by my house," said 9-year-old Andrew Mina, who was shopping with his father at Harford Mall.

Mr. Handy's daughter, Lynn, also succumbed to the winter activity.

"I realized the snow is pretty good for sledding," said the 10-year-old Bel Air Elementary student.

Mr. Handy said he was using his time off to do schoolwork.

"I got caught up on grading papers," said the social studies teacher. "It doesn't happen too often."

Mrs. Charvat, who teaches at Magnolia Elementary School, also made use of the unexpected holiday for job duties.

"I've been working on report cards for four hours," she said one day last week. "You don't get that kind of time during school."

Because of the closings, the end of the semester has been pushed back a week, and students won't get their report cards until Feb. 11, school officials said.

Other school activities have also been rescheduled, from tests to meetings.

Ninth-graders will be expected to finish the second half of the state functional writing test when they go back to school, but the state functional citizenship tests will be postponed until Feb. 1.

School officials will be asking the state to extend the deadline to give students the citizenship test, Mr. Morrison said.

Also, a public meeting on the redistricting of Aberdeen's four elementary schools -- Bakerfield, Hall's Cross Roads, Hillsdale and Roye-Williams -- has been rescheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at Aberdeen Middle School.

For parents worried about the loss of school time, Mrs. Charvat suggests having children write stories or poetry about the snow at home or reading a thermometer and charting the temperature on a graph.

"It's a good time for parents to be teachers," Mrs. Charvat said. "[Children] get excited by the snow."

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