Opinion

The longest days in June

School is out. Finally. Eight days were missed this school year due to bad weather and power outages. Even though the number of days to be made up were reduced by three, (waived by the State Superintendent of Schools) having five extra days of school in late June seems like forever.

The unexpected pleasure of having so many winter days off to sled, ski and hang out has long been forgotten. Students have had to pay the piper. The five days that had to be made up extended the school year from its originally scheduled end date of Tuesday, June 19, a full calendar week to yesterday. The truncated term even meant seniors were “required” to come back to school after their graduation ceremony on June 14 for three days. The days were set up to entertain rather than educate the seniors — an enticement that teachers and administrators knew would be ineffective. Administrators could only say they hoped seniors would return. Alas, just 40 out of a class of 360 showed up on the first make-up day. Just 15 appeared on the second.

The change in schedule created havoc on many levels. No one got off easy, from parents, teachers, and staff with summer plans to high school students with summer jobs.

The tail-end of a school year always appears less than productive. Teachers have to finish up grades and paperwork that now consumes a good deal of their time throughout the year. Students watch Disney movies and have class parties and spend school hours signing yearbooks. Everyone, it seems, is exhausted.

Making up days is a difficult balancing act for schools. They must carefully weigh the incompatible ideals of learning, state law and convenience. The School Board wisely changed the district calendar earlier this spring to build in make-up days within the school term in the form of long weekends. Days we hope will add learning to the school calendar.

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