Some Early Dismissal Days Changed to Full Days for Students in Charles

LA PLATA, Md. (Feb. 26, 2010) - Until winter winds down, school schedules and makeup days are as unpredictable as the next snowfall. Charles County Public Schools Superintendent James E. Richmond has made several decisions regarding calendar changes, but does not plan to announce possible waivers until March 9 at the next Board of Education meeting.

The Superintendent has changed a number of two-hour early dismissal days into full days of instruction for students. Two-hour early dismissal days that are now full days for students are:

-- Thursday, March 4

-- Wednesday, March 24

-- Wednesday, April 28

-- Wednesday, May 26

-- Friday, June 11

-- Monday, June 14

The two-hour early dismissal days on April 8, May 12, June 15 and June 16 remain as early dismissal days for students.

Richmond also announced the last day for teachers is June 18, changed from June 17. This makes up for the in-service day teachers missed on Feb. 5. Two hours of June 18 will be used for teacher planning.

Three weekends of cancellations, a weeklong school closing and the possibility of future storms have left Charles County Public Schools scrambling to make up lost instructional time and for available dates to reschedule missed days and events.

As of Feb. 25, the school system had closed seven days for inclement weather. Four days are built into the calendar, leaving three days to be made up elsewhere. The school calendar, set by the Board of Education more than a year in advance, calls for any additional days used to be made up during Spring Break.

The Superintendent plans to request a waiver from the state for some of the missed days. If a waiver is granted, those days would be restored to Spring Break. On Feb. 23, the Maryland State Board of Education announced a waiver process for school systems affected by this winter’s historic snowstorms. School systems may request a waiver of up to five days from the required 180-day instructional calendar. However, school systems must show that they have made sufficient effort in providing instruction through calendar planning and modifications.

Charles County Public Schools has already spent more than $218,000 on snow removal, which does not include payment for 11 more salt deliveries or employee overtime. “Our snow plowers and building service staff did an excellent job clearing our parking lots, sidewalks and pathways to relocatable classrooms so we could open schools on February 16 and start getting back to normal schedules,” Richmond said.

After a week-long closure from Feb. 8-12, schools re-opened two hours late on Feb. 16, and one hour late the remainder of the week to provide daylight, which allowed buses, walkers and drivers better visibility of ice patches and around snow piles.

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