Sunday, January 16, 2011

My School's Better Than Your School

Do you remember when you were a kid and you peered out the window to see snow? I bet your little heart began pumping as you began envisioning the snow fort you would be building or you might just be making tactical plans for the "Biggest Snowball Fight Ever." The only thing that may just throw a wrench in your plans

You watched the bottom of the screen as the school closings began crawling below your favorite morning cartoons. When your school's name finally appeared you let out a war whoop and began doing the happy dance barely noticing your Mother's disappointment that you wouldn't be headed off for school that day.

On a regular school day you dragged out the morning ritual of getting dressed and ready to go, but on this day you knew exactly where you shoes, coat, and gloves were and you ran out the door in warped speed.

As a young child you may never have given much thought to make up days. As a matter of fact, depending upon where you went to school, you may not even have to because "snow days" were actually figured into the schedule. In years that these scheduled snow days were not used you got to finish the school year a few days earlier than you had originally expected.

The most amount of time I missed from school was when I taught just outside of Richmond, VA and we missed almost the full month of February. As each day went by beyond the allotted "snow days" I imagined saying good bye to our Spring Break and even worried how much longer they might actually extend the school year to make up the time.

I think many of us were shocked when it was announced that we would not be making up these days because we in fact had been under a state of emergency and because our school day was generally longer than the state mandated time we would continue on with our school year as originally planned.

Every school district has it's own way of dealing with missed days. When I taught in Newport News, VA we missed some days due to flooding and we had to make them up by coming to school on three separate Saturdays. Classroom attendance was sparse but because we did keep school in session for at least a half a day we had met the letter of the law for school attendance.

I was not surprised when our Superintendent announced that we would be making each and every day we missed due to snow. It would have been against his very nature to have done anything different.

I wasn't even shocked when Dr. C said “It’s a nice gesture, but you have to teach the content. You can’t get the job done unless you’re in class with the children.” I told my husband that this was Dr. C's way of communicating to everyone that at RCS "Education is Job One."

It appears that this was the opening salvo of the war of "My School's Better Than Yours".

FCS spokesman shot back that their Superintendent and board of education members decided not to change the current schedule and will not make up the miss­ed days, saying the planned intersessions are too valuable to students to alter those dates.

During intersessions, students who are a little behind can elect to attend school to catch up while others enjoy a break. Hensley said he would not be surprised if the number of students attending intersessions this year spikes because of the snow days, but currently the school system has no plans of changing those dates to required days for everyone.

“Because we are a charter system we have the flexibility to do that,” he said.

Take that RCS! Maybe Dr. C should have trotted out the fact that RCS was just given the HIGHEST marks ever by a SACS official. I mean how could they possibly top that?

I'm certain that some people find this whole argument to be petty to say the least. I'm certain that both school systems care about their students but each of them is hoping to be the local standard bearer of education. Making this into a pissing match in the local paper demeans both sides of the argument.

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