Extended winter break impacts semester plans

Multiple snow days result in lost class time and a shortened spring break.

On what was supposed to be the last day of winter break, most FHSD students went to bed knowing that they would not have to wake up to the sound of their alarms at 6 a.m. the following morning. With multiple inches of snow in the forecast and temperatures below zero expected, the district made the decision to call off school. Families in the district were notified ahead of time that school would not be in session on Jan. 6.  due to inclement weather. What most of them did not know at this time, however, was that Monday would only be the first of four consecutive snow days.

Due to the four snow days that took place, the start of second semester was delayed until Friday, Jan. 10. Although most students and staff enjoyed their extended winter break, the missed days will eventually have to be made up at some point. The Francis Howell School District has ten snow days built into the 2013-2014 calendar. According to the calendar, the Jan. 6 snow day is scheduled to be made up at the end of the school year on May 23 while the other three from Jan. 7-9 will be made up on March 10-12 during the first week of spring break.

Although spring break will be cut short due to three of the snow days, making up missed school days during this time does have its benefits. According to AP Psychology teacher Mrs. Stacey Dennigmann, it is better to make up these snow days during spring break rather than at the end of the school year. Doing so allots students enough time to prepare for the exams taking place in early May. Snow day make-ups that are scheduled for the end of the year, however, are of practically no use to AP students since they will have already taken their tests and completed all necessary coursework by that point.

“From an AP perspective, it is more beneficial to take from spring break,” Mrs. Dennigmann said. “We are fortunate this year since the district is not adding all snow days to the end of the year.”

Only three snow days were built in to the calendar to be made up during the first week of spring break. Any future snow days that may occur are scheduled to be made up at the end of the school year and could potentially lead to lost class time for AP students. Mrs. Dennigmann plans to compensate for the days lost by moving through the curriculum at a slightly quicker pace rather than by cutting out material  that would have otherwise been taught.

“The pace will be picked up, but that was my intent for this semester prior to the snow days,” said Mrs. Dennigmann.

Because three of the snow days will be made up during the first week of spring break, the lost time will not significantly impact the curriculum of most AP classes but any additional snow days potentially could. The schedule for future snow days and the designated makeup dates can be found here.