School board wants redo of calendar Members question if too few days allowed for snow

'I think we need five'

Reworked listing to be completed by next meeting

January 25, 1996|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,SUN STAFF

With the Blizzard of '96 fresh in their minds, members of the Carroll County Board of Education sent next year's proposed calendar back to school administrators and asked them to add more snow days for the 1996-1997 academic year.

Usually, the school calendar has had three snow days built in, but board member Ann M. Ballard sais she has found that since 1990, schools have closed for bad weather an average of five days a year.

This school year, Carroll has missed eight days already because of snow.

"I think we need to put five days in the calendar," Ms. Ballard said. "Where? I don't know."

The other four board members concurred.

School Superintendent Brian Lockard asked the board to let his staff rework the calendar and present it again to the board at its February meeting.

One possibility a few board members suggested is to have children attend classes on two holidays -- Martin Luther King Day and Presidents Day.

School board President Joseph D. Mish Jr. has advocated having classes on those holidays with lessons about the subjects of the holidays being honored.

Mr. Mish is a retired social studies teacher.

Board member C. Scott Stone said the calendar could gain a school day by doing away with a proposal to give students the week of Nov. 25-29 off.

The first three days of that week would be used for parent conferences and professional development and the last two for the Thanksgiving holiday.

In the past, schools have spread these days over two weeks, holding professional days and conferences the Monday and Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

However, administrators and some parents have objected.

Three of the eight days missed for snow this year will be made up by sacrificing two teacher training days -- last Monday and Feb. 19 -- and starting spring break one day later, April 5 instead of April 4.

The remaining two days, and any others that may be needed, would be made up with extended hours in the spring, a contingency plan the school board approved a year ago.

Last year, the schools used no more than the three snow days built into the calendar.

But two years ago, Carroll and many other counties missed several days because of ice storms and snow.

During the spring of 1994, schools in Carroll, Howard and Baltimore counties made up the time by extending the school day for several weeks.

Although many students and teachers said it made for a long day, they and parents almost universally favored extended hours over a longer school year.

Other highlights of the proposed calendar for 1996-1997 include:

* The first day of school would be Monday, Aug. 26.

Board members, especially Mr. Stone, said they want to stick with that and to have school end by June 6.

* Dec. 20 would be the last day before winter break; classes would resume Jan. 2.

* Spring break would be two days, Friday, March 28 and Monday, March 31.

Mr. Stone said he favored a suggestion by Cori Martin, the student representative to the board, to add two days to spring break if they aren't used for snow.

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