Springfield Public Schools plans to take advantage of new state flexibility to change how snow days are made up during the 2021-21 year.
A proposed calendar for next year calls for the first three days canceled for inclement weather to be made up, in person, at the end of the school year. Any additional days will go virtual, negating a need for any make-up.
“We all love a snow day and students love a snow day, generally, one or two,” said Jason “J” Anderson, who oversees the annual calendar process. “But, after four or so and we have to start making them up, that could elongate the school year, make things challenging for child care and other services.”
The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education allows districts to flip to alternative methods of instruction, or AMI, when buildings are closed.
“With this calendar, we are looking at AMI as an option,” he said.
“If we get snow or ice coming in and we have to call school, kids have the day off and that’s good for a day or two. Starting on the fourth day, we have the capacity, we have the tools, we have the technology to continue our instruction.”
The board will vote on the proposed calendar as early as the Dec. 8 meeting.
In recent years, a state law tweak allowed districts to measure instructional time in hours instead of days, allowing more flexibility. Districts must meet the minimum requirement of providing at least 1,044 hours of instruction.
“We surpass this requirement,” he said.
On paper, the proposed 2021-22 calendar is nearly identical to the current year with 172 days of student instruction. Here are key dates:
- First day: Aug. 23
- Thanksgiving break: Nov. 24-26
- Winter break: Dec. 23-Jan. 3
- Spring break: March 11-18
- Last day: May 26
The final day may change, depending on the number of snow days, and spring break cannot be canceled.
The district is also closed for the following holidays: Labor Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day.
Springfield used to start the school year in mid-August. In 2019, legislation was enacted barring districts from starting the school year more than 14 days before the first Monday in September.
Claudette Riley is the education reporter for the News-Leader. Email news tips to email@example.com.