Hillsdale Community Schools are feeling the heat after a series of snow day cancellations this year.
Throughout the course of the winter, Hillsdale Community Schools were forced to cancel eight school days due to numerous snowfalls and the ‘polar vortex’ that swept through the midwest with frigid temperatures. Now, Hillsdale educators and students may be forced to attend two additional days of school at the end of the year; potentially ending the school year on a Monday rather than a Thursday.
The Hillsdale Community Schools Superintendent’s office said a request for a waiver has been filed with the Michigan Department of Education. If the waiver is granted, the state will overlook the additional two snow days that Hillsdale Community Schools took over the six cancelled day limit. The representative at the superintendent’s office did not estimate as to when they would know whether the waiver had been approved.
While awaiting approval on the waiver, Hillsdale Community Schools have already adjusted their learning plans and assigned homework for students to prevent students from falling behind or missing critical information in classes, according to Principal Laurie VanOrman of Gier Elementary School.
“We have had to make some adjustments in terms of lesson planning so we can make sure there is a continuation of services for our students,” VanOrman said.
Perhaps the greatest impact of the cancellations have been on Hillsdale families and their daily routines. Emily Flannery, whose children are enrolled in Hillsdale Community Schools, said the snow days have not exactly been a holiday for her family.
“Snow days do throw off our schedule and I have needed to adjust my plans for the day,” Flannery stated. “I do not work outside the home so it is easier for our family than for other families.”
Despite the inconveniences to family schedules and the extended school year, most parents seem satisfied with the school district’s handling of the snow days.
“There were no complaints filed in our office,” VanOrman said. “I think our parents understand when our roads are too dangerous.”
Flannery was also complimentary of Hillsdale Community Schools’ handling of the cancellations in terms of informing parents of the cancellations in a timely manner.
“I feel like Hillsdale does a great job of notifying families,” she said. “We always know by 6 a.m. that day through a phone call to each of our phones. It is nicer to know the night before, but it’s not always possible to predict if the weather will actually hit.”