Making Up Our Snow Days

Along with our many snow days this year have come many rumors about how they will be made up. Many rumors have circulated Ames High, such as the cancellation of spring break, school on S aturdays, and the lengthening of the school days by an hour to make up the missed days. In this case, many of the rumors are very close to the truth. "At the current time, the options for making up days missed due to snow are very limited," said Dr. Tim Taylor, Deputy Superintendent of the school district. "Specifically, the options include: 1. Using days during spring break; 2. Saturdays, 3. Adding time to the current class day to make up the time gradually; and/or 4. adding the days to the end of the current school calendar in June." Some other alternatives have been brought up, like using conference days as regular school days. "It must be understood that making up days during parent/teacher conference days is not an option because those days, as is allowed by law, already count as student class days," Dr. Taylor said, "hence, it would be double counting." But making the final decision on which method will be used is not easy. Recently, the district used the online service to sample the opinions of staff, students, and parents relative to the given options. "Personally, I believe the best option is the addition of 45 minutes to the current student day during the first three weeks of April which would, in turn, allow us to make up two very important snow days." Dr. Taylor said. The question has also arisen as to why the snow days need to be made up at all. "Currently, classes will end on Monday, June 7 which is very awkward," Dr. Taylor said. "By making up two days, student class days would end on Thursday, June 3 with a teacher work day and check out to end the school year on Friday, June 4. The built-in contingency in this plan is that, should we miss another day of classes due to snow, the final student day would be Friday, June 4 and teachers may have the option of working Saturday to check out for the summer, or return on Monday, June 7." The possibility of making up these snow days has many Ames High seniors worried. Seniors graduate on May 23, and their last day of school is earlier in the previous week. Because of this, under normal circumstances, seniors do not have to make up snow days. The Iowa Administrative Code states that " A school or school district may, by board policy, excuse graduating seniors up to five days of instruction after school or school district requirements for graduation have been met." It continues on to say that "if additional days are added to the regular school calendar because of inclement weather, a graduating senior who has met the school district’s requirements for graduation may be excused from attendance during the extended school calendar." This passage shows Ames High seniors who were afraid of an extended school year that they have no need to worry. "No matter how many snow days we have, we will not be asking seniors to go more days," said Ames High principal Michael McGrory. " We currently have five snow days to make up, and we intend to dismiss seniors on their original scheduled date. So we will not change the last day for seniors due to snow days. The only effect the snow days could have on seniors is if the district decides to extend the school day to make up some of the snow days." It seems now that Ames High students must just wait for a final decision on how the snow days will be made up. The options are known but the real variable that remains is how many more snow days we have between now and the end of the year. "As for the number of future snow days… the only concern is safety," Taylor said. "If we need additional days off due to snow, we will certainly do that based on the safety of kids."