Making up the snow days l Mukilteo Schools

By Dr. Marci Larsen, Superintendent | Apr 03, 2019

February was a record breaker! We’ve never had so many school days canceled because of weather.

During the past 20 years, most of our school years have gone by with no canceled days or maybe only one. There have been only four years when two or three days were lost. There were four days canceled in 2012 and six were lost during the 2006-07 school year. But, seven? Not until this year.

When we developed the calendar for the 2018-19 school year, we included four snow make-up days, a number that we thought at the time was more than adequate. The school year was scheduled to end on Tuesday, June 18 and, if snow days were needed, they would be added to the end of the school year: Wednesday, June 19 through Monday, June 24.

But, after we were hit with a series of four major snowstorms in February, we were faced with the challenge of scheduling an additional three make-up days.

There are a couple of things we had to keep in mind in scheduling those days. State law requires that school districts offer 180 days of school and the law also requires that students receive at least 1,027 instructional hours during the year. The number of school days can sometimes be waived in special circumstances, but the minimum hours of instructional time cannot. Because of the severity of the storms that hit us, Gov. Jay Inslee did declare a state of emergency for the period between Feb. 8 and 15, which provided us the option of requesting a waiver for school days lost during that time. But we are still obligated to provide the minimum hours of instructional time for students. What’s more, we have contracts with our employee work groups that specify a certain number of work days. Our contract with the teachers’ union, for example, specifies that they work 183 days.

Some suggested that we cancel a part of mid-winter break or spring break and hold classes then, but many parents and staff members had already made commitments for those days, so we felt it would be unfair to make them change their plans at such a late date.

Others suggested that we make up instructional time by eliminating or reducing the number of early-dismissal Fridays. But that Learning Improvement Time is important. Our teachers need that time for collaboration, curriculum training, report card preparation, and other tasks.

So, in the end, we’ve asked the state for permission to waive two of the canceled school days for students, which still gives us enough instructional hours to meet the minimum requirement. That means the last day of school for students will be Tuesday, June 25, pending state approval of our request.

For more information about the calendar changes and to get details such as the dismissal times, go to our website at www.mukilteoschools.org.

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