At their most recent meeting about a week and a half ago, the Crookston School Board, at Superintendent Chris Bates' recommendation, held off on deciding whether or not to add any school days to the current school year calendar in response to four days of school being lost to winter storms since January. It was early March, Bates said at the time, and more storms could be coming.
He was right. The latest blizzard that began Sunday and continued into Monday evening resulted in classes being cancelled both Monday and Tuesday. Asked what the board's options might be now, Bates told the Times that he's going to come up with some for them to peruse, and one might involve students making up as many as three days later this spring.
The contract with the teachers allows for three days to be cancelled without any required make-ups, Bates said. "The issue now becomes trying to package this into a format that makes sense," he added.
At the previous board meeting, sixth grade teacher Barb Chapman spoke against adding school days to the end of the year in late May, saying that they'd resemble babysitting more than actual, productive school days. Bates said at the time he was also not eager to add any days around the Easter weekend, since the days off were built into the school calendar and many families have probably made their travel plans.
But, with the last day of school currently set for Wednesday, May 29– which is to be followed by two teacher workshop days to finish out the week – Bates said there is room to add a couple days without making students go to school into early June the following week. "Going into the next week is kind of insane," he said. "But, obviously, there's going to be an expectation that we do something. ...I think the key will be to have some sort of flexibility."
Another key, Bates said, will be to make any make-up days productive for not just students, but their teachers. "We don't want to do something just to fill-in time," he said.
The board meets March 25. But even at that point, Bates cautioned, even though spring has officially sprung on the calendar, more winter storms could come. "There's no rush," he said. "Let's wait until we kind of have an idea that this winter thing might be really over."