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Students Can Rejoice: Only 1 Hurricane Make-Up Day, No Disruption of Thanksgiving Week Off

| September 22, 2017

school make-up days.

Little to make up. (© FlaglerLive)

Flagler County students, families and faculty can add state and local decisions on Hurricane Irma make-up days to their list of things to be thankful for come Thanksgiving: they won’t have to make up but a single day of school lost, despite losing six days, and that day will be instead of a teacher planning day in October, leaving the week-long holiday at Thanksgiving intact. 

The make-up day will be Monday, Oct. 16.

Teachers will make-up the planning day scheduled for that date on May 30.

Several factors are enabling the district to avoid a repeat of 2016, when Hurricane Matthew make-up days upended the Thanksgiving holiday week by taking up three of those days.

There was the state’s role. “Florida law gives the Commissioner of Education and the State Board of Education the authority to alter the instructional hours requirement when the loss of instructional hours is caused by a bona fide emergency and when it is not feasible to make up the lost days or hours,” Commissioner Pam Stewart wrote superintendents in a Sept. 19 memo. “As the commissioner, I am authorizing the waiver of up to two days of instructional time as a result of required school closures due to Hurricane Irma.”

That left four days to make up in Flagler. The district could have applied for a further waiver from the state. But in reality, it only had one day to make-up, because the school board had built in extra time, on each day’s schedule, to already exceed the state requirement of a minimum of 720 instructional hours for the year for kindergarten through third grade, and 900 hours for the remaining grades. Doing so essentially gave the Flagler district the equivalent of three days of extra instructional time.

So it was left to make up just one day.

The existing calendar is the resulting work of a committee that brings together faculty, administrators and parents. The committee was not called back in to make the decision on make-up days after the storm. Rather, the administration and the teachers union reached the decision to minimize the impact on the calendar, and especially on Thanksgiving week. “We really tried to keep that intact,” Jason Wheeler, the district’s chief spokesman, said.

The current calendar does have Nov. 20, 21 and 22 slated as hurricane make-up days. But those will be used only in the unlikely event that yet another emergency strikes the county before then, keeping in mind that Hurricane Matthew hit in early October. There are no more ways to accommodate make-up days otherwise. “Now we’re tapped out,” Wheeler said. Hurricane season does not officially end until Nov. 1, almost six weeks from now, plenty of time for West Africa and the Atlantic again to conspire and unleash a few more storms.

“I am sensitive to our families desire to keep posted holiday breaks,” Superintendent James Tager was quoted as saying in a release the district issued today, “and sincerely hope we do not have to deal with any other unforeseen circumstances that would require us to utilize our November make-up days.”

As for the make-up day in mid-October, it had to be slotted into the current semester, because the way the curriculum is set up nowadays, each semester stands on its own as a unit. If the day was made up after the new year, “you’re adding time to a class that you didn’t miss,” Wheeler said.


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8 Responses for “Students Can Rejoice: Only 1 Hurricane Make-Up Day, No Disruption of Thanksgiving Week Off”

  1. Anonymous says:

    More like a rejoice for teachers. Teachers are the one that make up days cramp their style-they look forward to their many mini vacations a year. If they had to make up days they may have a substitute to fill in for them. How about reporting just how many substitutes we tax payers pay for each year when teachers are being paid to do the job-I know there are a pile of them and they work a full schedule at various schools.

  2. Yourstruly says:

    Sure…. because Florida education is the best!!! ( note the sarcasm).

  3. Tired of it says:

    The hurricane season doesn’t officially end until November 30.

  4. Tyler says:

    How’s this bad. You know how many snow days kids have up north. This is nothing and they should be able to have a thanksgiving break. The last one was 3 days wtf is that. You can’t even go visit family with three days

  5. Fun stuff says:

    Anonymous, why are you so continually hateful against the teaching profession? I have many friends who are teachers and it’s not all the fame and fortune complete with these “mini vacations”. Teachers work well beyond their daily work schedule, grading classwork at home for hours and on the weekends, unpaid. Let’s not forget about the hours needed to complete detailed lesson plans that often get done at home. There are no “mini vacations” in teaching. Teachers frequently must work after hours, on weekends, over their lunch, and during student vacations just to accomplish these tasks. They also often spend money out of their own pocket to purchase classroom materials and resources, all to prepare their classrooms for the education of the future leaders of America. Perhaps you should walk in a teacher’s shoes for a week and see what the job is all about. I think you’ll quickly discover that it’s not that easy, and all of the teachers I know are compassionate, generous, and extremely hard working taxpayers who put their heart and soul into helping their students every single day.

  6. volo says:

    It is interesting to mention that teachers have substitutes and :we”have to pay for them. I wonder what job you are in? I guess that there is no need for someone to fill in when you are out sick. That should show you how important teachers are.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Been there and done that Volvo….it’s all about how you manage your time and how organized you are. Planning periods, special area etc are the times to get work done to prevent the day from being any longer than necessary. Imagine what this country would be like if those employed had a 6-7 hour work day with time during that day to get busy work done, work only 180 days or less a year and have 3-4 mini vacations during the year and the summer off to do whatever and be paid what most work all year to be paid. I’m not even talking about teacher work days and the days teachers call in sick and substitutes are paid to do their job. It’s time for reform in the education system. Kids are undereducated and they are our future. You can consider something you don’t agree with hateful but it’s reality not hatefulness.

  8. Anonymous says:

    How many make up days do you think we will need in case of Thermonuclear war with NORTH KOREA. Just trying to plan for the future, right?

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