School board seeks to add two days of classes in June

Proposal to make up for snow cancellations

March 21, 2003|By Amanda J. Crawford | Amanda J. Crawford,SUN STAFF

Students in Anne Arundel County would attend school two days longer in June and lose a day of spring break to make up some of the class time missed because of snow this year, under a proposal the school board approved this week.

The board voted Wednesday - the last full day of winter - to request a two-day waiver of the state's requirement that schools provide 180 days of instruction each year. The state schools superintendent has given local school systems that option because of the record snowfall but must approve the request before the plan is made final.

If the county plan is approved, students will not be dismissed for summer break until June 20, instead of June 18. They also will attend classes April 17, which was to have been the first day of spring break. The dismissal date for seniors, May 22, will remain the same.

The county school system closed nine days for inclement weather this school year, but had four extra days built into the calendar. Anne Arundel County Superintendent Eric J. Smith originally proposed using a day of spring break, extending the school year three days and asking for a one-day waiver. But the board decided to seek the two-day waiver and add two days at the end of the school year instead of the three requested by Smith.

Georgiana Maszczenski, chairwoman of the school system's calendar committee, said the superintendent's proposal was "a very conservative approach" that would have allowed high school students to meet the required number of instructional hours per school year - 1,170 - while only losing one day.

"Our goal is always to give students adequate time for instruction," said Maszczenski, who noted that the extra hours would have given the school system more flexibility to deal with late openings or early closings during the rest of the year.

But adding three days to the end of the year meant that the final school day would have been a Monday. Maszczenski and school board President Michael J. McNelly said that they heard from many teachers, parents and students before the board meeting who didn't think that was a good idea.

Maszczenski said the school system expects to hear within a week if its plan is approved by the state.

Carroll County's school system has asked the state to waive three days, while making up other snow days by holding class April 17 - previously part of spring break - and Easter Monday, April 21.

In Howard County, the school board asked for two days to be waived. To make up for the others, it added a day at the end of the year - supplementing the five built-in snow days - and held classes on a day previously scheduled for staff development.

In Garrett County, where schools were closed 14 days this school year because of inclement weather, the school system was granted approval by the state to waive three required days. It made up one day when schools were to be closed for student-teacher conferences, Superintendent Wendell Teets said.

Garrett County students also will attend classes Easter Monday and Memorial Day and spend an extra three days in class - added to the five built-in snow days - before being dismissed for summer break.

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