For some, classes can't be made up One-semester courses end this month, will be truncated

'Kind of a blow for them'

Students taking all-year courses won't be hurt

January 12, 1996|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

Students whose courses last all year will not be hurt by missing this week of school, but for high school students whose one-semester courses end this month, the lost time can't be made up.

Sheila M. Finlayson's public-speaking students will miss the biggest event of their course at South River High School. Their debate time will be cut in half.

"It is going to be kind of a blow for them. They are looking forward to this. This is the culminating activity for the course," Ms. Finlayson said.

The students will be able to give the first part of the argument, but the semester will end before they reach rebuttal and cross-examination.

The semester ends with exams Jan. 22-24. Professional days are set for Jan. 25 and 26, and there has been no change in that schedule. High school teachers use those two days to grade exams and prepare for the next semester. For other teachers, the days are set aside for an in-service day, said Kenneth Lawson, associate superintendent for instruction.

At Chesapeake Senior High School, Valerie Pringle's 11th-graders won't get quite as much poetry as she would like. She teaches poetry as the last unit of Modern English Literature because she can always cut a poem or two if days are lost to the weather, she said.

"I will cover the same concepts, but I will use fewer examples," she said.

Her dance class is a bit trickier, since there will be fewer rehearsals for the music video. But she is hoping to turn the situation into a group problem-solving exercise, a skill measured on state exams.

For lower grades and for full-year courses, the instructional time will be made up during the school year. Students will have two days to make up. A decision on how to do that will be made next month, Superintendent Carol S. Parham said.

The school system is waiting for the state Department of Education to tell it when state functional tests will be given. Seventh-grade writing exams were scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday. The system has asked for more time to prepare high school students for the citizenship test scheduled for Thursday, Mr. Lawson said.

Other teachers said they hope students are working on such projects as long-range assignments, book reports and novels.

Old Mill parent Dianne S. Osborn is worried about the time her son, a junior, is missing, especially in his advanced placement courses that have standardized tests in May.

"The tests are given, no matter what, for college credit," she said.

Teachers in elementary and middle schools expect to start the first day back with review time and, at the very least, pushing everything back a week and rescheduling such things as field trips, they said.

"We just got back into the learning mode [after the Christmas break], and now we are off again," said Mary Ellen Ouslander, a teacher at Corkran Middle School.

At Arthur Slade Regional Catholic School in Glen Burnie, many teachers gave their students homework last Friday.

"I told my language arts classes that, yes, the weather could be funny for the next month or six weeks. They have their [spelling] words for the whole year. My suggestion was I could not make specific assignments, so they should use the words in a sentence or in a crossword or or something else creative," said Marilyn Spak, language arts teacher for grades four and five.

There was no interruption for home schoolers.

"Academically, this hasn't been any problem," said Donna Feuchtenberger of Severna Park, who teaches her two elementary school-age daughters at home. "I just keep going."

The school board meeting scheduled for Wednesday has been postponed to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 23.

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