Dear HCPSS Community:
Now that we have had a fourth inclement weather related closing, I want to give you an update on the school calendar for the remainder of this year.
Our academic calendar designates five possible inclement weather make-up days: February 19, April 4, 5, and 6, and June 15. Using February 19 (President’s Day) would have required a state waiver, as it is a state mandated holiday, and would have caused significant budget pressures. Instead, the Board of Education has approved the use May 18 in lieu of February 19 as a make-up day.
After carefully reviewing our options, I want to provide you with the following information as well as my rationale about specific days to be used to make up school closings. I understand that any mid-year changes to the calendar can be disappointing, especially to students and families who have already made plans. Please be aware that our primary consideration in making these decisions is a commitment to quality instruction. We also wanted to provide you a level of predictability as we look ahead to the rest of the school year.
· Schools now will be in session on April 4, 5, and 6 and for a half-day on May 18 to make up for the four inclement weather days used.
· If schools are closed for one additional inclement weather day, June 15 will be used.
· State law mandates that the school year must be completed by June 15. If additional inclement weather closings become necessary, HCPSS will petition the Maryland State Department of Education for a waiver of the additional days.
The fifth possible make-up day on June 15 falls on a Muslim holiday. Per Board policy, no activities or exams can be scheduled on this day. This will require all end of school assemblies, promotion ceremonies, celebrations and final exams to be held on June 14 but still require students to attend on the day after. As an educator and a parent, I know that adding an additional day to the end of the school year would not effectively replace the valuable instruction days lost to inclement weather. HCPSS will use June 15 as a last resort to ensure that make up days will truly serve as replacement days for the instruction time that has been lost.
We will continue to carefully weigh all decisions to close school when inclement weather threatens the safety of students and staff, and will notify families as soon as possible should any additional changes to the school calendar become necessary. For more information on the school calendar and inclement weather closings, please visit www.hcpss.org.
Michael J. Martirano