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Snow Days? Will Your School System Still Have Them?


Razors Edge
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Snow days have been changed to remote learning days here when possible.  However if the snow is so bad that the "district" closes and no staff report then it becomes a snow day.  Remote learning is better than nothing on a snow day when the staff can arrive.

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The make-up days are still on the calendar, so it looks like our district would still give everyone the day off. 
 

FWIW, only the most structured, disciplined students were able to learn via remote instruction. They all could perform the tasks requiring familiar skills, but acquiring new knowledge without one-to-one or small group coaching was a stretch most couldn’t make. Factor in WiFi problems, glitchy sound, trying to multitask, and user errors like having 20+ open windows, never clearing the cache, never closing the browser… A day to just chill and get caught up is preferable to requiring several brief remote meetings. 

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1 minute ago, MoseySusan said:

The make-up days are still on the calendar

I'm sure times have changed, but our make-up days were tacked on to the end of the school year.  So, it was final exam week, then like one or two "make-up" days which became year book signing, and hanging out.

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53 minutes ago, Razors Edge said:

Earthquake days? Wildfire days? 

Well when they happen it’ll likely result in a large disruption that would make home schooling unlikely too.  But they are still fairly rare out here. 

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Nobody wants school to be extended at the end of the year.  It affects vacation scheduling for student families and teacher families.  It affects the plans for the reservations involved in graduation from the graduation itself to the parties afterwards.  Unfortunately, none of this has anything to do with student learning as it's almost all adult related.  I couldn't say anything else about it that wasn't political.

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1 hour ago, Razors Edge said:

I'm sure times have changed, but our make-up days were tacked on to the end of the school year.  So, it was final exam week, then like one or two "make-up" days which became year book signing, and hanging out.

Yes. They’re at the end of the year, which is before Memorial Day here, so nobody ever shows up when there’s been a weather make-up day except a few kids who like helping teachers pack up for summer or like hanging out with each other at school. 

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9 minutes ago, MoseySusan said:

Yes. They’re at the end of the year, which is before Memorial Day here, so nobody ever shows up when there’s been a weather make-up day except a few kids who like helping teachers pack up for summer or like hanging out with each other at school. 

:)  Definitely sounds like the "remote learning" would be a good option once the limit on "regular" snow days was hit (vs adding fake days at the end of the school year).

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Just now, Razors Edge said:

:)  Definitely sounds like the "remote learning" would be a good option once the limit on "regular" snow days was hit (vs adding fake days at the end of the school year).

As previously mentioned, a snow day usually meant time to catch up. Teachers would post a message in the student information system, students would email or post questions in Classroom. No new content; for English class it usually meant catch up on the reading, drafting essay, or composing a Slide deck. Many students also have to mind younger siblings and cousins, nieces/nephews while parents go to work. 

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11 minutes ago, MoseySusan said:

As previously mentioned, a snow day usually meant time to catch up. Teachers would post a message in the student information system, students would email or post questions in Classroom. No new content; for English class it usually meant catch up on the reading, drafting essay, or composing a Slide deck. Many students also have to mind younger siblings and cousins, nieces/nephews while parents go to work. 

Too confusing. Jeebus - days off that are actually days on. Make-up days that aren't really making anything up.  Kids watching other kids, but still "in class"? 

I get the idea "snow" days aren't really about snow?

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My county's Countywide School System has them, but it has fewer than surrounding counties and the kids will come into school mad as hell when schools 15 - 20 miles away in other counties are closed!  I used to try to sooth them by saying, "You'll get out for the summer earlier in June."

My county runs along the Chesapeake Bay, which serves as a heat-sink that sometimes turns snow into rain.  Snow here usually happens when the temperature is in the upper 20's or low 30's, so it doesn't take much to warm the air passing over the never-freezes-over Bay enough to melt the snow.

For 2022-23, only 3 days are built into the school year calendar for inclement weather - there used to be about 6 when I was teaching up to 2006 but we've had a lot less snow for the most of the past several years.

 

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When the weather is too dangerous to transport students because of SNOW, administration declares a Snow Day. We are in Michigan. There will always be snow days.

Sure, there could be remote learning if internet service was 100%. But there are many areas with no service. There will always be snow days.

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15 hours ago, smudge said:

Sure, there could be remote learning if internet service was 100%. But there are many areas with no service. There will always be snow days.

You honestly think internet service in your neck of the woods won't soon be at or near 100%?  If not, why not? And hopefully, as probably one of the best ways to bring opportunity to all, access - through cable/fiber, but also 5G and satellite - remains simpler and easier everyday, so even remote parts of the RICHEST NATION on Earth can be counted upon to have access and remote learning options in the near future (if not already).  

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35 minutes ago, Razors Edge said:

You honestly think internet service in your neck of the woods won't soon be at or near 100%?  If not, why not? And hopefully, as probably one of the best ways to bring opportunity to all, access - through cable/fiber, but also 5G and satellite - remains simpler and easier everyday, so even remote parts of the RICHEST NATION on Earth can be counted upon to have access and remote learning options in the near future (if not already).  

I suspect many people cannot afford internet service.  Libraries would likely be closed due to snow.  What about families with one PC?  When my kids were younger, I had one PC in the living room for them to share, that would not work if three of them needed to attend online school.

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14 minutes ago, Square Wheels said:

I suspect many people cannot afford internet service.  Libraries would likely be closed due to snow.  What about families with one PC?  When my kids were younger, I had one PC in the living room for them to share, that would not work if three of them needed to attend online school.

It isn't an "instantaneous" solution, but no one says "people cannot afford electric service" in the US anymore.  Sure, there are poor people out there, but ALL have access to electricity, clean water, phone, mail, and other 20th century improvements. It's approaching the mid-21st century, and at some point, hopefully sooner rather than later, internet access is universal for Americans.  Add in the relative inexpensive devices from cell phones to Chromebooks, and there is no reason all homes would not have the basic infrastructure to do on-line learning now or in the next couple years.  It's more about priorities than about feasibility at this point.  At some point, it will be sheer ludicrousness to NOT have virtual learning available at the drop of a hat, and in most cases it can also supplement the in-class teaching effort even when it isn't a snow day.  If we're leaving our students "stuck" in a bricks and mortar world using only pen and paper and chalk(!) to teach them, the rest of the First World will leave us in the dust.

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15 minutes ago, Razors Edge said:

If we're leaving our students "stuck" in a bricks and mortar world using only pen and paper and chalk(!) to teach them, the rest of the First World will leave us in the dust.

I'd prefer that.  How else will they learn to socialize?

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Just now, Square Wheels said:

I'd prefer that.  How else will they learn to socialize?

In school like they do now.  This is to "improve" the process, not completely replace the old one.  Just because we - as old fuddy duddies from the 50s, 60s, and 70s - can't relate to the new world of hyper-connectivity, it doesn't mean that world doesn't exist and that our kids and grandkids and great grandkids don't need to be well prepared for it.  

I feel like every discussion we have here about real evolution and change that is and has been happening - and will continue to happen - is met with a funny sort of Luddite resistance - all while being read and created on - most often - tech that didn't exist a relative short while ago.  It's possibly just old-school curmudgeon attitudes, head-in-the-sand avoidance, or maybe folks really continue to think the old ways were best & should be cemented in perpetuity.  :dontknow:

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55 minutes ago, Razors Edge said:

the new world of hyper-connectivity, it doesn't mean that world doesn't exist and that our kids and grandkids and great grandkids don't need to be well prepared for it.  

The appropriate age and ways to introduce tech into the learning space is a huge discussion. There’s a lot going on when kids are growing:  brain function, motor skills, perceptive skills, pragmatic awareness, social awareness, literacy. The hyper-connected world hasn’t yielded stellar learning outcomes in part because human growth and development happens in a stimulating, tactile world where depth and cause-effect and lots of sensory input and movement come together. 

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15 minutes ago, MoseySusan said:

The appropriate age and ways to introduce tech into the learning space is a huge discussion. There’s a lot going on when kids are growing:  brain function, motor skills, perceptive skills, pragmatic awareness, social awareness, literacy. The hyper-connected world hasn’t yielded stellar learning outcomes in part because human growth and development happens in a stimulating, tactile world where depth and cause-effect and lots of sensory input and movement come together. 

...and yet...it happens and outside the schools and often outside parental supervision as well.  

We are NOT going back to a pre-internet, pre-connected, pre-tech world (barring a nuclear apocalypse :o), so the longer folks wistfully regard the past as the present, the challenge grows and the kids who are already adapting are that much further ahead vs those stuck in the 20th century.  

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13 hours ago, Square Wheels said:

What about families with one PC?  When my kids were younger, I had one PC in the living room for them to share, that would not work if three of them needed to attend online school.

Um... Wouldn't the other kids use, like, their Macbooks if one kid was hogging the PC?  :dontknow:

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During school year 2020-2021 every middle and high school student was issued a Chromebook, and every elementary student was issued an iPad. The district also arranged with XFinity for some WiFi hot spot distribution based on economic need. I'm not sure how that distribution has played out during the past year. I do know that only the seniors in May of 2021 were required to return their Chromebooks. You can imagine the number that came back with residue from spills, without a power cord, or otherwise non-functioning. Some of my sophomore students that year said it was easier to use their family computer than the Chromebook, which would bog down when we were running Meet, a website e-reader, and a response-based learning app like Peardeck. 

In April of 2021, the NM State Legislature approved $100 million to start the process of making broadband available throughout the state. At that time, nearly 20% of homes and businesses did not have broadband access. Estimated costs of statewide connectivity range from $1 to $5 billion. I'm not sure where the process lies at this time. Surely, every school and public library in the state has WiFi access. Every Starbuck's and Arby's, too. 

So, let's call it given that in the near future every student will be issued a device and every home will have available WiFi infrastructure. Of course we would want students to continue to engage new content even if the weather prohibits them from traveling to the school site. There are numerous, online, response-based learning applications that teachers can develop with precise content. Students set up their user accounts with a classroom code and the teacher gets itemized reports of each student's progress. My students thought they were also kind of fun. They liked developing and sharing their own decks, too. 

But using an app is about as rigorous as doing a worksheet. It doesn't really prepare young people for high-level, cognitive challenge. And although they may learn "the elements of tragedy" from playing through a Kahoot and creating a Peardeck to exchange with other teams, there have to be more substantial educational goals in play. Ideally, they could work together and work for transferrable knowledge and skills...meaning clearly applicable outside a classroom.

As stated before, only the most disciplined students were able to work together and communicate effectively in the remote setting. It's ok for low-level rigor. It's not ok for cognitively challenging work. Not for young people anyway.

Unless...the work is something like coding or developing digital content using a multi-step process and an editing suite. A friend of mine teaches Kindergarten (AM) and a 4/5 Gifted pull-out (PM). She uses age-appropriate pre-coding and coding educational software and robotics programs with her students. I think she had to write a grant for the materials and training, though. It's not part of the required curriculum at those grades. 

My journalism students loved learning to use InDesign to layout the school newsletter as well as all of the surrounding processes for collaborating in a digital environment. They used Lightroom and Photoshop in Photography II and in Yearbook. I"m not sure which editing suite the Video Production class used. The "drafting" teacher had three, 3-D printers for student design projects, but I don't know what design software they used. The ROTC program had a Cybersecurity class. The school also offered three levels of programming; sometimes students would come troubleshoot my journalism desktop computers when they crashed.

If students have the right hardware, software/application and broadband access, they might be able to continue the challenging work at home, even if they'd rather throw snowballs at the neighbor kid or go sledding at the park down the street.

21st Century will continue to see rapid change in technology, and I'm convinced there are enough young people working intentionally with digital content that we will be well-supplied into the future.

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17 minutes ago, MoseySusan said:

If students have the right hardware, software/application and broadband access, they might be able to continue the challenging work at home, even if they'd rather throw snowballs at the neighbor kid or go sledding at the park down the street.

That's what lunchtime recess is for!

But, seriously, the bar is not to equal "to continue the challenging work at home," but rather to equal or exceed "come to school for make-up days after exams are complete" sort of things.  I think most school systems have several "snow days" built into their full year number, but the ones above that number are required to be "made up".  But, of course, the made up days are just a joke in most cases since they take place after the "real" school year, so to me, it would make the most sense to switch on the "remote learning" when regular snow days run out, and then, rather than 100% wasted time, it is "reduced but potentially useful" time during the regular school year.  No need to extend a school year, and no need to just be a babysitter those days.

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3 minutes ago, Razors Edge said:

it is "reduced but potentially useful" time during the regular school year.

For sure. Even if the workload isn't rigorous, it's still making progress toward mastery. There's still the issue of equity, but NM should have statewide broadband access by 2025.

Video conferencing was a hard sell to my sophomores. The journalism students did some polling and research, and they uncovered the primary reason is because young people want more control over their digital image than they get in a live video feed. I mention this because full-on remote learning and conferencing was not able to un-do the culture of digital image already established by social media apps. So, yet again...schools bump up against the "media curriculum," the same as we did before everyone had a smart phone or computer, and advertisements, television and movies were drivers of perception.

Spoiler

And as long as loudly vocal parents keep shutting down progressive access to new content, schools will be hamstrung by...what did you call it...

On 4/6/2022 at 8:02 AM, Razors Edge said:

head-in-the-sand avoidance

 

 

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55 minutes ago, MoseySusan said:

I was just remembering that I gave a lesson on how to use email. A lot of students were typing their whole message into the Subject space, like a text message. 

Does save time having to open the email??? :party:

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On 4/6/2022 at 9:40 AM, Razors Edge said:

but no one says "people cannot afford electric service" in the US anymore.

Duh, What rock are you living under?

And for decades the only reason many could was because of the REA, which I'm sure you know nothing about being a city kid.  There is no internet version of the REA.

 

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25 minutes ago, Kzoo said:

Duh, What rock are you living under?

And for decades the only reason many could was because of the REA, which I'm sure you know nothing about being a city kid.  There is no internet version of the REA.

This falls under the "if not, why not?" umbrella.  But, really, it is more "if not now, when?" since it really has become bundled into all phones since 2010 or so.  Sure, there will be active "unplugged" types, but the number of folks with internet access is creeping close to 90%, so while that number may gradually level off at some plateau, for the folks who want/need access, it will be there.  Sure, maybe not the default of gigabit speeds like city folk, but certainly a possibility especially with 5G and Starlink.

For fun, though, I found this image:

Most+Used+Emoji+on+Twitter+January+2020+ 

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4 hours ago, Razors Edge said:

This falls under the "if not, why not?" umbrella.

Because there's no benefit to a company to extend service to places where they will never recoup their investment.  Even if a company is a government-approved monopoly, it has responsibilities to its shareholders and the public to make enough money to maintain the poles, lines, and facilities it has to meet the mandates promulgated by the states' Public Utility Commission, Public Service Commission, or whatever title the entity uses.  It can't afford to bleed money away into areas where the expense of installation far outweighs the revenue they would collect, which in itself would be limited by what the Public Service Commission permits them to charge.

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@Razors Edge Seriously, you are overthinking all of this. How many snow days are there and how big of a deal are they? In Jackson, WY, we get a fuckton of snow and there are almost no snow days. Maybe one every three years. Usually, they happen because it's so cold that it is unsafe for kids to be outside waiting for a bus or a herd of bison is blocking the bus route. 

So if a snow day happens, who cares? Kids get a day off. The district typically builds in extra days just in case. If you burn those, school goes into summer break for an extra day or two. 

To your many points about tech and virtual learning, talk to the students, teachers, and parents first. Yes, we could spend Billions providing computers and wifi for the occasional snow day. Most people hate it and would argue it doesn't work as well as in person learning. At the end of the day, what is wrong with having to cancel a day of school because of bad weather and making that day up at the end of the year? 

 

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11 hours ago, Thaddeus Kosciuszko said:

Because there's no benefit to a company to extend service to places where they will never recoup their investment.  Even if a company is a government-approved monopoly, it has responsibilities to its shareholders and the public to make enough money to maintain the poles, lines, and facilities it has to meet the mandates promulgated by the states' Public Utility Commission, Public Service Commission, or whatever title the entity uses.  It can't afford to bleed money away into areas where the expense of installation far outweighs the revenue they would collect, which in itself would be limited by what the Public Service Commission permits them to charge.

You may have missed (ignored) the 5G (4G/LTE is more than sufficient as well) and Starlink references above???  No bleeding of money to benefit rural America, but rather simply reaching all customers no matter what their zip code.  So, again, just a "when", not an "if" situation.

9 hours ago, dinneR said:

So if a snow day happens, who cares? Kids get a day off. The district typically builds in extra days just in case. If you burn those, school goes into summer break for an extra day or two. 

Yeah - for the most part just talking about the "extra" days beyond the allotted normal snow day budget.  IOW, since we CAN easily do the remote learning stuff now, why would we ever have the old "tack on the missed days as useless babysitting" days anymore? And why would you - as a taxpayer - and anyone - as a parent or citizen - want kids wasting their time and our resources when a better & simpler alternative now exists?  

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55 minutes ago, Razors Edge said:

You may have missed (ignored) the 5G (4G/LTE is more than sufficient as well) and Starlink references above???  No bleeding of money to benefit rural America, but rather simply reaching all customers no matter what their zip code.  So, again, just a "when", not an "if" situation.

Yeah - for the most part just talking about the "extra" days beyond the allotted normal snow day budget.  IOW, since we CAN easily do the remote learning stuff now, why would we ever have the old "tack on the missed days as useless babysitting" days anymore? And why would you - as a taxpayer - and anyone - as a parent or citizen - want kids wasting their time and our resources when a better & simpler alternative now exists?  

You have no idea what you are talking about. None. Take this stupid idea to your local school district. Use lots of emojis. They'll love it. 

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2 minutes ago, dinneR said:

You have no idea what you are talking about. None. Take this stupid idea to your local school district. Use lots of emojis. They'll love it. 

I was reflecting what I read from @MoseySusan where, I think, we were in agreement that virtual learning fall between in-person (best) and make-up days (worthless).  IOW, virtual learning is now in place across school district all over the US. It only makes sense to leverage that WRT make-up snow days.  Maybe your district budgets more than enough snow days so they never have "make-up" days added to the end of the school year, but for the rest of the US, where only a few (or none) are built in, it seems like a good way to do things.

Or, stick to the bricks and mortar, paper and pen world you hold dear. :)  Why change with the times?

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1 minute ago, Razors Edge said:

I was reflecting what I read from @MoseySusan where, I think, we were in agreement that virtual learning fall between in-person (best) and make-up days (worthless).  IOW, virtual learning is now in place across school district all over the US. It only makes sense to leverage that WRT make-up snow days.  Maybe your district budgets more than enough snow days so they never have "make-up" days added to the end of the school year, but for the rest of the US, where only a few (or none) are built in, it seems like a good way to do things.

Or, stick to the bricks and mortar, paper and pen world you hold dear. :)  Why change with the times?

K-5 virtual learning sucks. 

I hold nothing about this dear. Don't make shit up. 

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4 minutes ago, dinneR said:

K-5 virtual learning sucks. 

...sucks more or less than a day tacked on at the end of the year with no teaching performed?  

How does 6-12th do? Maybe you're good with a change just at that level?

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3 minutes ago, Razors Edge said:

...sucks more or less than a day tacked on at the end of the year with no teaching performed?  

How does 6-12th do? Maybe you're good with a change just at that level?

Yes

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