Snow day offers a chance to work, play, relax, sleep


January 20, 1998|By Nancy J. Gallant | Nancy J. Gallant,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

SNOW DAYS can complicate schedules and cause all kind of child-care problems. Even so, once in a while, it is fun to enjoy a surprise day of freedom in the middle of the week. People in West County used last Thursday's snow day in lots of different ways.

School crossing guard Diana DiCato spent a day sleeping a little later, finishing her housework and crocheting.

Crofton Elementary School first-grader Matthew Casella and his preschool brother, Jeffrey, concocted a daylong excursion to their own Lost World. With Lego buildings, pretend roads and toy dinosaurs, the boys became heroes for the day in a lively series of adventures.

Arundel Senior High School Principal Will Myers spent most of his free day at school. He cleaned out files, caught up on work and met with other staffers who'd come to school.

Donna Fowler, a secretary at the high school, spent some time working despite the snow day. Then, back at home, she and sons John and Chris built a fire and enjoyed the unexpected time off.

Scott Salinger, a seventh-grader at Crofton Middle School, played with his baby brother and sister, Carl and Stephanie.

This week is Denise Casey's first encounter with high school finals. So she and her friends used Thursday to get ready for American government essay questions. Her older sister, Elizabeth, who has had more experience with tests, went shopping.

Four Seasons Elementary second-grader Katie Chadwick had a chance to read "The Cat in the Hat."

Jonathan Bents was busier than on a regular school day. In the morning, he worked on college applications and essays for his senior classes at Archbishop Spalding High School. Then friends Mark Van Sickel and Jason Titcomb treated him to a belated birthday lunch. After that, he joined his teammates at Spalding for basketball practice.

Ryan Morse, Arundel High School's senior class president, slept in.

Mary Kay Harris, a first-grader at Crofton Woods Elementary School, built a Barbie house and read.

School crowding

Cindy Johnston has been extra busy lately. The mother of two (a 4-year-old and a 6-year-old) is also a licensed day care provider and a community volunteer. Since August, Cindy has been at the forefront of the Arundel Overcrowding Committee. As committee chair, she spearheaded the effort to find a way to deal with the severe crowding problem in the Arundel feeder system.

A group of about 50 parents was organized into subcommittees charged with investigating a variety of options, from school choice to split sessions to redistricting. The work involved hours and hours of meetings, phone calls and research to find the best solution for this emotional community issue.

The committee's efforts resulted in a comprehensive plan presented to schools Superintendent Carol S. Parham in November. In the short term, the plan proposed moving several hundred students from Crofton schools to South River High. Over the long stretch, the group found that even moving students would be insufficient to deal with the growing student population, and it advocated a new area high school.

That plan is now up for public discussion. Cindy and the committee have completed the task they began in August, and it would be nice if they could sit back and relax. But her work is far from over. The group is following up, stressing the need to adequately fund instructional materials -- books and the like -- for students who are to be moved.

The school board will hold budget hearings Monday at North County High School and Jan. 28 at the Board of Education building on Riva Road.

Next month and in March, the proposal will be discussed at public information sessions and hearings. For more information, call Johnston at 410-451-0332.

Pub Date: 1/20/98

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