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It is never an easy decision to close school on a snowy day. We all understand how valuable our teaching time is for students; however, it was refreshing (on this extremely snowy day in the North East) to cancel school so that students and teachers did not have to worry about trying to make it to school this morning given the extreme weather conditions.
Harvard Kennedy School Assistant Professor Joshua Goodman says “with slack time in the schedule, the time lost to [weather-related] closure can be regained.” He believes “we have more trouble when student absences force teachers to spend time getting students on the same page as their classmates.” Like Goodman, I believe it is easier to build in slack time in the schedule before school begins than it is to extend the school year into the summer on the back-end. I also believe it is easier to catch everyone up instead of a few who might miss school because of poor weather conditions. Ultimately, I believe schools across the country may have to rethink the way we build academic calendars allowing for more “slack time” in the school year in order to compensate for drastic changes to weather patterns that are impacting all of us. Our weather is changing and so must we if we want to ensure the best academic instruction regardless of the number of snow days we have each year. tlb