The Van Vactor family

I am from northern Indiana. We are used to snow. We crave snow in the winter. We actually get disappointed if there is a year with no snow days. Schools also are used to snow and are prepared for it, but this year was CRAZY! I currently live in the central part of the state in the Indianapolis area, and we had tons of snow and six snow days to make up, but that is nothing compared to my friends up north. Up in the Fort Wayne area, schools have more than 15 days to make up. How do you make up that many days and not spend half your summer in school? Well, welcome to the Snow Make Up Days Game.

snow days Logistics

Enjoying a snow day at home

It has been interesting to sit back and observe what several school districts are doing. Schools can get out of making up some days by applying for waivers from the State Board of Education. Waivers apply to serious weather-related closures when there is just no way to attend school. We had a major snow system with over 12 inches of snow and then we entered the “Polar Vortex” and had subzero temps for a week after Christmas. The state allowed two of those days to be waived, but there are plenty left to make up.

With our ISTEP (state-mandated testing) in the spring, schools were scrambling as they lost a week or two or three to prepare for this huge test. Some schools have opted to have classes on Martin Luther King Jr. Day or President’s Day. Other districts tack days onto the end of the year or use part of Spring Break (if you are on a balanced calendar or at a year-round school and have two weeks off in the spring). 

But when you just have too many days to make up, what do you do? This has been an interesting battle. Schools are voting and tacking on minutes and even an hour to the school days from now until the end of the year to make up those hours lost so that we aren’t going to school through part of June. Some schools are starting 15 to 30 minutes early each day.

So the question remains, do you allow your child who is already at school for a long time to go an extra 30 minutes or an hour every day? My daughter is a kindergartner and is already exhausted when she comes home from school. I can’t imagine adding an extra 30 or 60 minutes to her day. She eats lunch at 10:45 a.m. and gets off the bus at 3:40 p.m. That’s a long time already. I know some schools that have 15-plus days to make up that have voted to add an hour onto their day, and the parents are going to pick up their kids early on certain days because of sports practices and dance/gymnastic classes. We are on a balanced calendar and my daughter is scheduled right now to get out of school June 6 and return August 4. That’s not a very long summer compared to other schools.

15 inches of snow in one storm

So what is the happy medium and what is appropriate for a child? I am a former teacher, so I see both sides. It’s hard to imagine your little one being at school any longer than they already are, but I also want those summer days with her. Luckily for me right now we are taking a vote and one option is to only add 30-some minutes onto each day. I think as hard as it is, that’s not quite as bad as 60. There will always be an argument when it comes to education and you won’t be able to make everyone happy, but it’s been interesting watching all the schools scramble to figure out what’s best to make up these crazy snow days and be prepared for next year. I enjoyed some of the snow days while they lasted, but now it’s time for the weather to warm up so we can get outside!

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Category: Family Free Time

Tags: Alyssa