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Posted at 7:21 PM ET, 03/ 2/2010

Snow daze at the Fairfax schools

By washingtonpost.com editors

By Virginia Fitz Shea
Alexandria


Fairfax County must emerge from its snow daze and make a reasonable effort to make up lost teaching hours after the recent storms.

The Feb. 24 Metro article “Md. schools get a break on making up snow days” cited a Fairfax County proposal to add half an hour to the school day. However, Fairfax Superintendent Jack D. Dale has since changed his recommendation and now advocates making April 12 a regular school day and adding three days to the end of the school year, then asking for a state waiver for those three days.

This proposal for a waiver would fall short of the Code of Virginia requirement to “include evidence of efforts that have been made by the school division to reschedule as many days as possible and certification by the division superintendent and chairman of the local school board that every reasonable effort for making up lost teaching days or teaching hours was exhausted before requesting a waiver of this requirement.”

The Fairfax County school board should follow the Arlington County board’s example and temporarily suspend the weekly early dismissals of most elementary school students. Fairfax and Arlington are the only districts in the Washington metropolitan area that dismiss most elementary school students two hours early once a week. These early dismissals do not serve the needs of the students, particularly in a year when they have already missed 10 days of school.

The writer is a member of the leadership team of the Fairfax Education Coalition.

By washingtonpost.com editors  | March 2, 2010; 7:21 PM ET
Categories:  Fairfax County, HotTopic, schools  
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Comments

This makes perfect sense. I never understood why Fairfax County has 1/2 day Mondays to begin with - they could consolidate teacher planning time into full days as they do in other jurisdictions. Not in Fairfax - they make living here a pure nightmare for working parents! If the proposal to extend days at the end of the year is within the bounds of the state law, then why did the Superintendent ask for a waiver? Is he going to deny our children the classroom time that THEY DESERVE? Here we go again, the Superintendent will wait until the 11th hour to make a decision so that once again, parents HAVE TO SCRAMBLE FOR CHILDCARE and planning out our schedules.

Posted by: frustratedFCPSParent | March 3, 2010 6:22 AM | Report abuse

What is taking so long to make a decision about this? Mondays should be a full day, anyway, instead of adding a half a hour to the school day.

Posted by: aprilvg | March 3, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

First, from what I've read elsewhere, not all elementary schools have early dismissal in FCPS. Not to mention, that does nothing for Middle School and High Schools. Also, I'm under the impression Dr. Dale changed his proposal due to parent's responses. The Facebook response to the three choices was overwhelming to add days vs. minutes. (By the way, I favor adding 30 minutes per day). And, I'm also under the impression the three days at the end of the school year will happen, it's IF there are EVEN MORE days we should miss from here on out that he is asking for a waiver, so the schools aren't open June 28,29 and 30th. Please re-read the FCPS website and I wish the Post would do a better job of not spreading 'rumors'.

Posted by: tammirush | March 3, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Aren't Fairfax schools the best in the country? Aren't 25% of the students gifted? We're so far ahead of the rest of the state, we don't need to make up these lost days.

Posted by: dubvee88 | March 3, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Changing Monday early dismissal to a Tuesday - Friday dismissal time is just as flawed as adding 30 minutes to each day. That requires parents and teachers to change arrangements that were made at the beginning of the school year and impinges on extracurricular and enrichment activities scheduled for that free afternoon. Adding days on to the school year is the easiest solution. It allows for plenty of time to make changes to any vacation plans.

Why is there such a vocal minority wanting to monkey around with bell changes all the time? My daughter's school schedule is already 9:00-3:40. Last fall's proposed bell change would have had her school changing to 9:30-4:10. And this is after the change 3 years ago from 8:30-3:10.

Enough already.

Posted by: akhix2001 | March 4, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

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