Polar Vortex Takes A Toll On Spring Break
Submitted by District Administrator Gary Hansen
I don't know about you, but this has been a tough winter for me. Perhaps it's just my age creeping up on me. At any rate, during the last cold snap that resulted in school cancellations, I stopped into Bluemke's and the subject of making up school days quickly surfaced. Depending on the school district, you may receive different answers to this question because school districts have different approaches to building their school calendars. In the Rosendale-Brandon School District, we schedule 180 teaching (or "contact") days and an additional 7 "non-contact" days during which teachers are scheduled to participate in various in-service projects, but students do not attend on these days, giving us a total of 187 teacher contract days.
State law requires school districts to provide 180 annual school days and they allow up to 3 inclement weather days. During this 2013-2014 school year, our schools were closed on January 6th and 7th and again on January 27th and 28th due to very cold temperatures. Representing our 4th day of missed school, January 28th will be made up on April 22nd which shortens our spring break.
Not only does the state require 180 school days, but they also have a requirement for hours of instruction. Hours of instruction include:
437 hours for students in kindergarten
1,050 hours for students in grades 1-6
1,137 hours for students in grades 7-12
This breakdown of scheduled hours includes recess and time for students to transfer between classes but does not include lunch break.
Although we have used the allotted three days and need to make up any more days that are missed, Rosendale-Brandon has a longer school day than most school districts, allowing us to inherit 2-hour delayed starts without having to make-up those hours.
It's always tough when deciding to delay the start of the school day, delay the release of students from school, or cancel school altogether. It never fails when these decisions are made, there are citizens who disagree with the decision, but I assure you that student safety is always at the forefront of the decision. Right or wrong, parents always have the right to keep their children at home or provide their own transportation in inclement weather. Realizing that any change to the school day may cause some parents to make alternative plans for child care, our decisions are made as far in advance as possible. Living in Wisconsin makes this a bit challenging, but the use of our School Messenger calling system has been a true benefit in communicating these alerts to parents as soon as the decision is made.
So to recap; at this point in time we are out of days. Therefore any more complete days missed will be made up. However, due to our school hours of instruction, we can have 2-hour delays which will not need to be made up.
Well, it's only February, but I for one will be very glad when the winter season is over. Then again, spring brings fog...ah, such is Mother Nature.