Schedule changes to make up for snow days affect both classes and extracurriculars as school day is extended

Students in for the long haul to make up for lost time


Andrew Liebegott

Physics teacher Alan Gleue teaches his sixth hour class on April 16. Several classes have fallen behind on work due to the number of snow days and are struggling to catch up before the end of the school year.

By Macy Landes, Editor-in-Chief

After seven snow days and one delayed start day, seniors at Lawrence High and Free State lacked the minutes mandated by state law.

In response, USD 497 implemented a longer school day to combat this issue.

The decision to add time rather than days came, in part, from the bond construction schedule. In order to finish on time, construction has to begin directly after the school year ends.

“There were really no other options that were workable,” debate coach and Lawrence Education Association vice president Jeff Plinsky said. “If we added days to the end, we would have had to push the construction back even more.”

Another option was to remove block days, but that would have cut heavily into teacher plan time.

“Everyone agreed on this being the best available option,” Principal Matt Brungardt said.

Even though it was deemed the best solution, the extended day has its setbacks.

“I don’t think adding minutes to the day is nearly the same thing as making up days of instruction,” AP Literature and Composition teacher Melissa Johnson said. “And in AP, even if we had made up that time by adding days on at the end of the year, the AP exam would have happened anyway. So really, in a sense, nothing could happen that would make up for the time lost as far as AP prep goes.”

The few minutes added to class time haven’t done much in the way of curriculum changes either.

“It’s not like I’m going to assign, ‘Oh, now you have an extra 10 pages of reading because our days are longer,’ you know what I mean?” Johnson said. “So changing the schedule that way just doesn’t do much.”

In addition to minute class time changes, the schedule change has already affected extracurriculars.

“In the end, it will probably cause some girls to miss more of practice, thus limiting their opportunity to be the best they could be at swimming or diving,” girls swimming and diving coach Kent McDonald said.

The effects of the changes haven’t just been negative, though.

“[Our coach] works and comes straight from work to practice and he’s usually in a rush,” senior softball player Jesse Cox said. “I think the schedule change has helped him more than it has the rest of us.”

The change has also affected students with after school jobs.

“One of the problems is that at my work, someone has to stay until I get there,” senior Caitlynn Kliem said. “So not only do they have to pay that person to stay longer, they also have to adjust my pay.”

The revised schedule, while inconvenient, is necessary.

“I definitely understand that this time has to be made up,” Johnson said. “And I wasn’t sure what the best way was so I think it’s fine.”