Snow Days Delay Summer for Area School Kids
There’s payback for those winter snow days, especially for Howard County, whose students will be in the classroom later into the summer.
Howard County students are among those who will be in the school the latest in the Baltimore-Washington region this year due to four snow days this winter.
Howard County students will be in school until Wednesday, June 22.
Originally, students were scheduled to be finished June 16.
Both Montgomery and Carroll county schools will finish up June 16 this year, with four and six snow days, respectively. Baltimore County, with six snow days this academic year, and Prince George’s county, with four snow days, will both send students home for summer June 17.
“I really think the [Howard County school district] needs to put some snow days into the calendar,” said Andrea Romberger, an Elkridge resident whose son attends Elkridge Elementary School.
Romberger said plans for family trips and summer camps have been foiled by the late Howard County schools end date.
“We’re in Maryland, not North Carolina,” she said. “We have at least several snow days a year. At least integrate a few into the school year instead of pushing it back. It just screws up plans big time.”
Howard County school district spokeswoman Patti Caplan acknowledged that residents are not thrilled about the late closing.
“They are not pleased about it, in general,” she said. “They certainly would want the school year to end earlier. [But] if you look through the calendar, there’s not a whole lot of places to give.”
Caplan said school officials decided not make up snow days this year during teacher instruction time because there is “precious little time now for that system-level development,” only two days per year. Last year, the district used one teacher development day to make up a snow day.
During teacher development days, teachers study a variety of areas, such as how to use data to improve teaching, how to make students excited about learning and how to address different learning styles, Caplan said.
In Baltimore County, school officials build seven snow days into the calendar, and only need to extend the school year if they exceed that number, said spokesman Charles Herndon.
“It’s a rare winter… that we exceed that seven days,” Herndon said. “It’s a way for the school system to keep the calendar as stable as possible and not disrupt too many family plans or summer vacations.”
Also, some schools in Baltimore County do not have air conditioning, so officials are careful not to schedule classroom time too late into summer months, he said.
Maryland public school students are required by state law to be in school for 180 days.
Carroll County is one of the few districts in the state that sought permission from the state board of education to waive one of those days.
The state board this year has approved waivers for Carroll and Garrett counties, and has received a request from Caroline County on the Eastern Shore, said Bill Reinhard, a spokesman with the Maryland Department of Education.
There are a total of 24 school systems in the state, he said.
Carroll County Superintendent Steve Guthrie said school is ending on June 16, a Thursday, rather than the Friday that week because that would have caused a high absentee rate.
Also, the last day for teachers is Friday, June 17, and district officials wanted to preserve that day so teachers did not have to come back on Monday, which is when summer graduate school starts for many educators, Guthrie said.