As a former school administrator, I was in charge of making the school’s yearly calendar.
I worked with the staff to determine the calendar each March for the coming school year.
Each year we including a statement explaining specifically, the manner in which snow days (over 4) would be made up.
This method of planning provides the students, families, and staff with a clear plan, should there be excessive snow/school cancellations the following school year.
Today, several area schools have this same type of statement posted on their websites - Roxbury, Hackettstown, Parsippany for examples.
Hackettstown School District calendar notes, for example, “If more than 6 inclement weather days are necessary, they will be made up during the spring break in April beginning with April 6, April 5, April 4, and so on.” Both Roxbury and Parsippany have similar statements on their calendars, posted prior to the start of the school year. This way, the day the district goes over their allotted snow days, everyone is clear which day was just taken off the spring break. This allows them to plan accordingly in a timely manner.
Randolph’s method of simply noting “days will be taken from spring break” on the calendar is not helpful. Does that mean school will be in session on Good Friday, if there is a 5th snow day? Or the following Friday? Waiting until March to make a decision on calendar revisions, and then posting it on the website as a tentative decision awaiting board approval for two weeks, is a very challenging method for staff, families, and especially for those with vacation plans, or working families who need care for their children. Many working parents have a limited number of vacation days, and many need to request days off weeks in advance.
I urge the district administrators and Board of Education to finalize a plan for this school year’s calendar as soon as possible. And, encourage them to review the calendars of local schools, like Hackettstown and Parsippany and consider determining a plan for dealing with excessive inclement weather closings, now, for the 2018-2019 school year, and do so every March for the coming school year.
Julie Swenson, M.Ed.
Julie Swenson, M.Ed.