Teen Board weighs in on snow-day makeup issue

February 19, 2014 

Snow, ice and the threat of bad winter weather have cost students in Bibb County schools seven days of classroom time this school year. Students in Houston public schools have missed five days. Some districts in the state have missed up to 11 days, said Matt Cardoza, spokesman for the Georgia Department of Education.

The state school board is set Thursday to consider a proposal from the Department of Education that would exempt school districts from being required to make up those days.

If approved, the exemption would include most of the snow days that local districts have used this year. State rules already allow school districts to miss up to four days without making them up.

Cardoza said school systems would not be required to use the exemption days but would have that option.

Members of The Telegraph’s Teen Board share their views about whether schools should make up snow days. Some of the responses were edited for clarity and length.

Davien Brown, senior, Houston County High School

When readers are forming their opinions about the state proposal, they would do well to remember that it does not deny schools the ability to enforce makeup days, but rather gives schools the autonomy to make this choice for themselves. School system officials know what is best for their students and should be given the ability to make decisions they believe are best given their particular circumstances.

Scarlett Mayoralgo, sophomore, Northside High School

It’s rare for Middle Georgians to experience snow, much less miss school for it. If our board of education was composed of any young person affected by our uncanny wintry weather, every action would be taken to avoid making up school. As a student, as long as I am on track to be adequately exposed to material on finals and End of Course Tests, then I’d say my school and I have done our job. I see no flurry of panic among my teachers, who have already adjusted their plans around our missed days therefore, I think the hassle it would be to add extra days would be exactly that -- a hassle.

Margaret Peth, sophomore, Mount de Sales Academy

First off, let’s consider when these days would be made up -- at the end of the year. Though students are physically at school, their brains are already on vacation. Would these makeup days really serve any purpose? The cost of keeping the schools running would be almost trivial. Furthermore, teachers are most likely already scrambling to make up for lost time. Those last few days would do little more than serve as a holding pen for anxious students. And as an additional point, many students will have already taken their AP exams, if not the exams for all their classes, further rendering those last days as moot.

Mary Helen Douglas, senior, First Presbyterian Day School

I think the school systems should have to make up some of the snow days because education is too valuable, and students cannot afford to get behind. Although making up all the snow days missed would not necessarily be productive, making up at least three would be beneficial to the students and teachers as it would allow the teachers to finish teaching their lesson plans that were missed during the days off or rushed when the students returned.

I agree that it is important that schools take careful safety precautions when the weather becomes severe, but I do not think snow days should be used as an excuse to get out of school. Snow days interrupt the instruction the students are receiving at school.

Desiree Little, senior, Central High School

I think it’s important to have the maximum time in school possible to maximize learning, and given that most of the “snow days” were not even actual snow days, it seems like a bit of a waste to not make them up. ... Students have to be in class a certain amount of time to receive credit for a class. I think the best decision is to offer the makeup days over a break, and some time before the break conference with the ones who need to come. That way, the people who need the days can make sure they don’t jeopardize their class credits, but those who don’t want to or need to go can make their own decision.

Anna Roddenberry, sophomore, First Presbyterian Day School

Making up the missed school days due to weather would be an unnecessary inconvenience for the schools of Bibb County. At the end of the academic year, schools, in general, have extra days to review or waste time. Adding on to these days would be unneeded, especially for AP students who have already taken their exams. The makeup days would only be there to take up time.

Rebekah Scarborough, senior, Northside High School

The reason students were unable to attend school is because of an act of nature. It seems unfair to punish them by possibly taking away spring or summer break over something they can’t control. Also, the inconvenience and expense of rearranging vacations doesn’t seem to equate one mediocre day of school. If the decision results in an extra day at the end of the school year, it will only prolong the stress and anxiety that is endured annually during the time of finals and graduation. If the board does decide to require schools to make up the days, I hope it doesn’t expect an overwhelming attendance.

Jackson Dillard, senior, Mount de Sales Academy

The end of our school year, including our final exams, coincides with the AP exams. Because of this, it doesn’t make sense for us go to school for extra days as we wouldn’t actually be learning anything. Those makeup days wouldn’t be actual days of learning, but simply hours just to fill a quota. If the entire AP system could be moved back a few days, then I would be fine with it. I am a senior, so I get out of school early, regardless of when everyone else does.

Baylee Culverhouse, senior, The Westfield School

Since severe weather conditions are unpredictable when creating a school calendar, I believe that students should not be required to make up the missed days. Adding unexpected makeup school days can interfere with previously planned events and can be a nightmare to schedule. While it is important to get the most out of a school year, makeup days are often wasteful and “busywork” laden. In the future, schools should allow for one or two days of severe weather days -- days scheduled before the beginning of the school year to allow room for snow days. Besides, students and faculty need a break from the monotony of the school week, and snow is the perfect, unexpected addition to a boring week in Middle Georgia.

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