BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – The nasty artic snap that made going to school a crap shoot on any given day the past three weeks has resulted in an amended school calendar for the rest of the year.
Fort Madison Superintendent Dr. Erin Slater said the first of those changes will take place on Monday, Feb. 18. Students were originally scheduled for a holiday on Monday, but that will now be a school day.
Additional changes to the calendar include transitioning all Wednesday early outs to full days beginning March 6, as well as eliminating three additional scheduled holidays. Those are March 27, April 1, and April 22. She said with those changes, the last official day of school, pending any additional weather related cancellations would be May 31.
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The full amended calendar can be viewed at the following link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ubC62n4LwHc6ld2wlVVIhaQfuk8L5yrw/view
Slater said the changes were made after district employees were provided a survey on Monday for feedback and recommendations for making up for the weather-related cancellations.
“It was a collaborative effort. We’d been talking as an administrative team, but a lot of those conversations centered around when do we make a decision, if there is more weather to come,” she said. “So we sent a Google survey to all employees in the district with four questions around what they thought priorities were in adjusting the calendar. We gave them a 24-hour turnaround and based on that feedback we went back and created these amendments.”
She said canceling the Wednesday Professional Development sessions was a tough call because so much progress is taking place in those sessions.
“That was a really hard decision because we are making such great strides with efforts on those afternoons. It was a tough call to make because that time is so valuable to the teachers, but we made the decision to put student instruction first.”
She said canceling the early outs put enough hours back into the schedule to make up two instructional days.
She said several of the days that were originally scheduled as days off were professional development days. March 27 was a spring break day, but April 1 and 22 were development days that were pushed into June so students weren’t exposed to the heat of the buildings, which Slater said can get to 100 degrees very quickly.
She said there were some roadblocks with the changes, but the district will work through those.
“We’ve had some follow up from people who had other things going on and we will work through those with labor management groups,” Slater said. “We’ll respond to those, and in the very best way we can with the understanding that schedule changes can be very difficult.”
A meeting was being held on Wednesday night at Holy Trinity to review the school system’s remaining calendar, but no official information has been released.