How Weather Impacts Harford County School Year
Harford County Public Schools spokeswoman Teri Kranefeld explained the school calendar.
The snowstorm in Wednesday's forecast prompted school closures in Harford County. As a result, students will have school on April 30, which was originally planned as a staff development day when they otherwise would have been off.
What are the parameters for the school calendar?
It's always our main goal to provide the maximum days of instruction. The state requires that we have 180 days of instruction. I'm a parent as well, and I understand that schedules can be hard. That’s why we tell parents in the beginning of the year to plan for June 17 [to be the end of the year].
Wasn't the last day of school June 12?
No. They said in the [parent] handbook that the last day was June 17. If there had been no inclement weather days, the last day would have been June 12.
When are the makeup days for inclement weather?
There is a sequentially ordered list of makeup days to be used: Wednesday, June 12; Thursday, June 13; Friday, June 14; Tuesday, April 30; Monday, April 29; Wednesday, April 3; Tuesday, April 2; and Monday, June 17.
Why not use makeup days in April first?
People wanted those days [off] in April because they felt that a break was needed. There are a lot of requirements that bind us in terms of when kids can have off. The state testing windows throughout the calendar are large as well, so you can't have days in there for days off.
Could staff development days become regular school days so students can get out of school earlier in June?
No, those professional development days are in the contract for the teachers.
Did you request a waiver from the state to excuse days off during Hurricane Sandy?
Last year [2011–2012], there were two days for hurricanes. We did request a waiver but it was denied by the state.....Typically, regardless of the state of emergency declared by the governor, we still have to, by any means that we can, make up a 180-day schedule for our kids’ instruction.
The state won't accept waivers until the end of inclement weather season (a date which has not yet been determined) because they want to make sure that you will try every reasonable effort to make up those days. If we submit a waiver and we still have two inclement weather makeup days left, the chance is it's not going to be approved.
Who makes the school calendar?
A calendar committee creates them two years in advance.
Who's on the committee?
Parents, teachers, administrators, business leaders, daycare providers. They make a recommendation to the [school] board. The board posts it on the website for 30 days and anyone can make comments.
How do I get involved in the calendar committee?
We’re getting ready to form the calendar committee for this year, which will plan the 2014-15 school year. They can contact me at Teri.Kranefeld@hcps.org.
You tell us: What do you think about the school calendar? Tell us in the comments!