After the damage has been done by Hurricane Irma, there is still a storm to be weathered with the remainder of the school year in Duval County.
The school system has built-in ‘weather days’ on which are treated as additional days off until they are needed to make up for school closings. There were five weather days allotted for this school year. Hurricane Irma closed Duval County Public Schools for six days. And hurricane season is not over yet.
I know that it is essential for us to recover lost learning time for our students. I also know that we cannot win any war debating which days to sacrifice to play a futile game of catch up. For example, is slated to be a make up day. Do we really think that attendance will be high on that day?
Instead, I think that we should suspend early dismissal days for the remainder of the school year. First of all, those ‘half days’ wreak havoc with block schedule planning, parent pick up times, and after school programs.
For those who would lament the loss of professional development and faculty collaboration, don’t worry. Teachers have PLC (department or team) meetings, monthly faculty meetings, and online training that can do the job just as well if not better than early dismissal days.
For those parents who still can’t quite pin down when their child gets out of school on any given , this is your chance to have one less thing to worry about after the storm and the school system can make it happen.
I know that I am not alone in this sentiment. Please prove me right, community.
John Louis Meeks, Jr.