Watertown schools: More snow could mean less vacation time

Wicked Local staff photo by Kate Flock
WHS freshman James Garbier does homework in study hall, Feb. 16, 2011.

By Laura Paine Wicked Local Watertown Posted Feb 18, 2011 @ 09:28 AM WATERTOWN — As far as Watertown High School Head Master Steve Watson is concerned, there will not be any more snow days. “I’m an optimist,” he told the Watertown TAB & Press. “We have a vacation coming up, we have one more month to get through and then there is something call Spring that comes up in March.” But it is the job of Superintendent Ann Koufman-Frederick to be a realist when it comes to the weather. At the Feb. 10 School Committee meeting she presented several options to make up school days should there be any more snow cancelations. As it stands, school is being extended from June 21 to June 28, and March 14 will be a school day instead of a professional development day for teachers in order to make up for the five accrued snow days. “I want to get as much instructional time in as possible as early as possible,” KoufmanFrederick said. Schools are required to be in session 180 days. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education have suggested that, if needed, school departments can cancel or shorten February and April vacations, convert professional development days into student days, hold school on Saturdays, keep schools open on Good Friday and/or add days in June. “It’s a toss up whether people want to make it up in April vacation or add it on in June,” Koufman-Frederick said. It isn’t a toss up for Danilo Ibner, a freshman at Watertown High School, who said he would rather have vacation and would not be interested in going to school on Saturdays. “I will not come over April vacation,” Ibner told the Watertown TAB & Press. “I don’t even know what Good Friday is, so I guess I’ll come on that day. If we get more snow I am willing to go to the 30 th , that’s only three more days, but I’m not going April vacation.” His classmate, Stephen Emerton, said he wouldn’t want to have school on Saturdays and that he would only being willing to miss out on April vacation if it is absolutely necessary, but he’d “rather not.” WHS freshman Mary Breen said the snow has given students enough time off from school. “I don’t think we need another vacation really because we have had so many days off,” Breen said. “I don’t think we should get rid of Good Friday because I am Catholic and go to church on that day, but I think if we got rid of April vacation that would be good because I’d rather be out in the summer time when it’s nicer out. April can be kind of rainy and the weather’s not always good.” She also said that she didn’t like the snow days because they fell in the middle of midterms, making studying and staying on top of work more difficult than usual. Classmate Kara Macri agreed. “At first you love them and you get excited, but afterwards you get tired of it and you want to go back to school to catch up on work,” Macri said. “It was right before midterms so it made our lives a little bit crazy.” Macri thinks that the school department should get rid of February vacation to make up for the snow days since April vacation is scheduled soon after. She said she would rather have more time to hang out with her friends in nicer weather.

Watson said that if Mother Nature decided not to listen to his demands and created another storm, he would continue to go with the flow. “You can only control what you can control, and you can’t control the weather or the calls people make, but you can control being flexible and trying to make smart choices,” he said. “The superintendent said she would weigh people’s opinions and be in conversations with principals, the teachers union and parents and if that happens then I’m sure we’ll make a good decision.” Laura Paine can be reached at lpaine@cnc.com. Copyright 2011 Watertown TAB & Press. Some rights reserved

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful