School Board Notes • May 29, 2013 • Vol. XXXVI No. 42

Survey Results: Making Up School Days Missed After Hurricane Sandy

As the end of the 2012-2013 school year draws near, school districts are making any necessary final adjustments to their calendars to fulfill the state-required minimum of 180 days of instructional time. Back in October, Hurricane Sandy played havoc with school calendars, with many schools closing for a week or more. A recent 30-Second Survey asked districts whether they needed to add days to the end of the school year, cancel previously scheduled holidays, or take other action in order to make up those days lost to the superstorm.

Number of Days Missed  The largest group of respondents, 38.8  percent, missed five days or less of school; another 34.1 percent missed 10 days or less. Nearly a quarter of survey participants missed three days of school or less.

How many days did your district have to close school this year due to weather-related conditions such as the hurricane or snow days?

How many days did your district have to close school this year due to weather-related conditions such as the hurricane or snow days?

Making Up the Days  Schools employed a variety of strategies to make up missed school days. About 61 percent took quick action after Sandy to open school on the November days when it is normally closed for the New Jersey Education Association convention for teachers. Nearly 44 percent cancelled previously scheduled days off such as Martin Luther King’s birthday or Presidents’ Day, and 40 percent of respondents said their schools had added days to the end of the year.  About 24 percent took away some days from spring break and another 21 percent opened school on days that were scheduled to be closed for professional development.

How did you adjust your school calendar to make up for excess lost days? Check all that apply.

How did you adjust your school calendar to make up for excess lost days? Check all that apply.

Comments 

Our district had three emergency closing days built into the calendar. That, plus the two days we got back from NJEA convention, covered us for the five days we closed for Sandy. We were lucky not to have any snow days!

We eliminated the extra-day weekends we have in our calendar in the spring, three Mondays and the day after Memorial Day are designated to be holidays unless they are needed for makeup days.

We moved the cancelled professional-development days to the end of year. The kids finish on time and the teachers stay longer.

We took away Election Day as a day off for students and a professional development day for staff.

We had enough built-in days to cover the few snow days we had. We ended up with four days off around Memorial Day.

Adding days at the end of the school year can be problematic. Even in late May there are many classrooms that are becoming hot – too warm for students and teachers to be comfortable for learning and teaching.

Our school calendar provides for days to be made up, and collaboration among the stakeholders provides flexibility in adjusting the calendar.

We saved our snow days and took away winter break. Now we have to give back the snow days we didn't use.

Our community was very supportive of the changes we needed to make, which made our job much easier.

We couldn't move the last day of school so it was very difficult to make up days. We were lucky there wasn't the need for more.

There are always a few people who would like to see the school calendar track their family vacation schedule throughout the school year!

It would be nice if we all could eliminate permanently the NJEA teacher-convention days which most teachers do not go to and are very disruptive in the month of November.

We are adding two more snow days next year and reducing the February break by two days.

We need to start school earlier than the second week in September. The last week of August would be the answer.

After the storm, we took the days from the teachers’ convention, Martin Luther King Day and Presidents’ Day, and also added days to the calendar. Since we did not have any more snow days, we gave back the Tuesday after Memorial Day and are ending school one day sooner.

Our school families prefer taking a single day away to make up the time instead of taking away from longer breaks. Families make travel plans for the winter and spring recesses which makes taking back any of those days problematic.

What a year! But we made it, graduating on Friday, June 21st. Whew!