By Keely Wiese
January 20, 2015
Originally Tuesday, January 20th, 2015 was supposed to be a work day for teachers and the last day of a four-day weekend for students. Thanks to the snow day on Wednesday, January 14th, teachers lost their work day and students were counted as absent if they did not attend school on the 20th.
This is part of a new policy for the 2014-15 school year, meant to limit schedule complications of both students and staff by late end dates. Four more make-up days, (February 16th, April 3rd, June 8th, and June 9th), are still in reserve to ensure Albemarle County Schools reach the 990 required hours of class in a timely manner.
Last school year, 2013-14, Albemarle County Schools were supposed to celebrate their last day of school on June 6th. However, due to a grand total of 11 snow days over the course of the nine months, summer didn’t start for those students until a week later.
This caused problems for the schools when the late end-of-school date pushed back staff development and summer school schedules. Not to mention the number of complaints the school received from parents and students whose summer plans now had to be altered.
Last March, Albemarle County Schools sent a survey to parents asking them their preferred way of making up missed school. Options included an additional 20 minutes added on to each school day, attending school on two Saturdays, taking out holidays like Labor Day, and simply pushing the end date back.
After analyzing the 6,000+ votes, the Albemarle County School Board made a decision.
In the school year of 2014-15 there would be five teacher work days or simply no-school days. These dates could and would be switched to make-up school days in the event of a snow day before the scheduled day off.
No doubt that if and when this happens (as it did on January 20th) there will be complaints; families who wanted to take advantage of the day off to go on a trip and teachers who were hoping to get some work done without the students.
However, there are advantages to this new policy. Snow days are made up almost immediately with hope that school will end on June 5th as it is scheduled to do so now. Also, perhaps more importantly, it can be assured that days made up earlier will be more productive. With set SOL, AP, and other exam dates usually scheduled in May or early June, there is little to no content left to be learned on school days so late in the summer.
Be prepared for this new policy. If there is a snow day between now and the next reserved make-up day, February 16th, Albemarle County Schools will take away the day off and students will be required to attend their classes.