Students in Flagler County schools will not have to make up the three days lost to Hurricane Ian, based on a plan devised by the school district and presented to the School Board on Tuesday.
Instead, technical adjustments will absorb the loss. The school calendar will shift the end and beginnings of quarters and semesters–an internal adjustment that affects when students end class segments and receive grades, but not the sort of adjustments that would have any effects on school schedules.
“We wanted to provide some options that would have little to no impact on our faculty, staff or student schedules,” Assistant Superintendent Lashakia Moore said.
So Quarter 1 will now end on Friday, Oct. 14, instead of two days earlier. The first academic semester–including the second quarter–is scheduled to end on December 22. It will end instead on January 11, without changes to days off in the interim. The change only affects when academic work is completed, to be reflected in report cards.
The second semester was scheduled to begin logically with the return to school after the holiday break, on Jan. 9. Instead, while students will return on that day, they’ll still technically be finishing up their second quarter’s (and first semester’s) work. The new semester, and third quarter, will begin the next day. Chances are most students won;t notice the change.
The Flagler County School district lost three days to Hurricane Ian–Sept. 28, 29 and 30. It six has built-in make-up days for natural disasters, spread out between August 23 and December 23. Those hurricane make-up days coincide with faculty planning and work days, when students are off but faculty is required to report to school. Those days are intact for now. So is the week-long Thanksgiving break from Nov. 21 through Nov. 25.
The new schedule as presented, Louise Bossardet told what members of the school board were present at Tuesday’s workshop (Janet McDonald and Jill Woolbright, who are lame ducks, were not present), “it would allow us to not have to use the teacher workday on October 17 or the days over the Thanksgiving break.”
One of the make-up days is Nov. 8, Election Day, when the district is keen on not having students on campuses because several schools are used as voting precincts, and you never know what weirdos turn up to vote or spy on voters on those days.
Districts are required to teach a set, or at least a minimum, number of days per year. They can exceed those days. They may not go below the minimum. “It’s local decision but we have to meet the instructional minutes required by state statute,” Superintendent Cathy Mittelstadt said.
Flagler schools has built in a slight supplement of instructional minutes in its daily schedule. It has come in handy on previous occasions, enabling the district not to infringe too much on its approved calendar, and limiting impacts on students and families, who depend on the calendar to plan their months and their vacations.
The post-Ian arrangement would allow the district to have 43 instructional days in Quarter 1 and 44 days in Quarter 2, for a total of 87 days. The second semester was reduced from 92 days to 89 days. “So that’s where those three days that were lost would impact us,” Bossardet said. School Board member Colleen Conklin called the shift a “clever” way to avoid larger disruptions.
That includes October 17, which would have been a make-up day. “That’s next week,” Moore said, “we want to make sure that we are being sensitive also to the schedules of our families.”
The plan is all but final, with possible tweaks early next year. “Unless the Department of Ed comes back and makes a complete waiver of some counties, they may choose to do that depending on the extent that they are out of school or back in school,” Mittlestadt said, referring to the five counties in southwest Florida whose districts are closed indefinitely because of the storm’s damage: Charlotte, DeSoto, Hardee, Lee and Sarasota. The closures affect almost 168,000 students.
Flagler lucked out, with minimal damage to homes and businesses, except in Flagler Beach, which was more seriously hurt–vbut not as much as during Hurricanes Matthew and Irma. School resumed in Flagler on Monday. “We’re back into our academic rhythms,” Mittlestadt said. So I think this gives us an opportunity for staff to know, October, November, we’re staying the course. And then when we get the final guidance by the Department of Ed, then we can tweak the semester and the semester start” net year.
But Mittlestadt cautioned: Hurricane season does not end until Nov. 1, and in the new era of climate disruptions, the end of hurricane season may not necessarily be the end of hurricane season. Put another way: if another storm disrupts the school calendar, all bets are off on shifts and tweaks and giving thanks for unchanging calendars.
It says “draft,” but the calendar below is, in fact, the current school calendar in effect:2022-2023 Calendar - REVISED
Leave a Reply