Beaver Dam, other area school districts, to see days added onto school calendar

February 13, 2019

Snow days are piling up and the Beaver Dam Unified School District, as well as most area school districts, is exploring options for adding time to the school calendar.

Schools around Wisconsin were closed Tuesday after a heavy snowfall overnight and into the morning created unsafe conditions for students to be bused to school.

The Horicon School District, which has had to call six snow days so far, will extend daily class time rather than adding days to the calendar. Horicon will end the school year on May 24.

“We have extended our days to be longer as we feel that instruction now is more critical than tacking on days at the end of the year if possible,” Superintendent Rich Appel said.

The district also passed a referendum last year and has construction plans for the summer.

The Randolph School District will make up time on days that were scheduled to have no classes. Students will go to school on Feb. 21 and 22.

The Fall River School District also will use scheduled days off to make up for some of the six days missed for weather-related events and will still end as scheduled June 6. Students there will have classes on Feb. 22, when parent-teacher conferences had been slated, and April 19.

Beaver Dam Superintendent Mark DiStefano sent out an email Tuesday informing parents that he was looking at extending the school year calendar from May 31 to June 5.

“It will give a little wiggle room for things like late starts for fog events,” DiStefano said. “We are in uncharted territory right now.”

DiStefano said Beaver Dam has missed six days due to the weather.

“Although there are several districts in our region that have missed as many as eight or nine days of school already, the six we have missed as of Tuesday, is still unprecedented for our district,” DiStefano said.

The students will return to school for summer school June 10. DiStefano said he felt extending the calendar was better than adding time to the days or taking away some of the in-service or spring break days.

“The in-service days are important for training and growth for our staff,” he said.

Also while many families may not make plans around spring break, there are those who have already planned a vacation around that time.

“We can’t afford to have 300 or 400 kids missing from school,” DiStefano said.

DiStefano said he will present the additional school days to the school board during its monthly meeting March 11.

Waiting until March will give the district a better understanding about any additional weather issues that might develop over the next month. DiStefano said the district’s calendar goes three days over the number of instructional hours required by the Wisconsin Department of Instruction.

Beaver Dam High School will still have its graduation June 2.

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