Snow-altered school schedule bedevils some parents' plans


February 21, 1996|By Bonita Formwalt | Bonita Formwalt,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

HURRY, I need the phone number for the Board of Education," my friend demanded as she burst into my kitchen.

I inched toward my Rolodex.

"Face it. Mother Nature has beaten us in a fair fight," she ranted. "But changing the school schedule every two minutes trying to eke out 180 days? Who are they trying to kid?"

I was beginning to suspect these latest changes were creating a crisis in my friend's vacation plans.

"Where did they get this magic number of 180 days?" she fumed. "Is a child educated in only 175 days doomed to a future at the Gas-n-Go? Will five extra days of classes mean a career with NASA?"

I had to admit that missing five days of 12 years of education did not seem excessive.

"I even have a list of things they can eliminate from the curriculum to save five days. Things I promise they will never need," she continued. "The history of Canada, hyperboles, home economics, art, the Spanish-American War and speedball."

After she left, phone number in hand, I turned on the television, the true barometer of our society's value system. Alex Trebek was announcing the categories for Double Jeopardy.

I'll take speedball for $1,000, Glen Burnie.

Bald for books

For the students at Marley Elementary School, 1 million minutes of reading equals one bald physical education teacher in a new reading-incentive program, "Hair Today-Gone Tomorrow: Getting Bald for Books."

Teacher Ken Williams has promised students he will shave his head if they reach their goal of 1 million minutes of reading before the May 31 deadline.

A likeness of Mr. Williams in the main hallway sports a number of "hairs," each one representing 70,000 minutes of reading.

Whenever the student body reaches a weekly goal, a hair is "plucked" from his pate.

"We're starting with a male-pattern baldness design and hope to have him completely bald by May," said reading resource teacher Jean Curry.

The incentive program was the idea of Mrs. Curry and media specialist Harriet Malamut.

"We were just looking for a way to get the kids to read a little at home," Mrs. Curry explained. "We figured each child in the school could read 20 minutes a night for four months and we came up with a goal of 1 million minutes."

Less than a month into the program, students are a little shy of their weekly goal of 70,000 minutes.

"Mrs. Malamut suggested that if we only get halfway to our goal, we'll only shave half of Mr. Williams' head," Mrs. Curry said.

For information, call the school office, 222-6414.

African stories

Black History Month is being celebrated at the North County Library with a presentation by local storyteller, Stanley "Bunjo" Butler, at 7 p.m. tomorrow.

Better known as "The West Baltimore African Talkin' Drum," Mr. Butler will share African and African-American stories, proverbs and songs.

The library is at 1010 Eastway. For additional information, call 222-6270.

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