The Mineola Board of Education continued their quest to fashion an effective calendar for the 2017-18 school year during their Jan. 12 meeting.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Nagler presented a revised recommendation for the next school year’s calendar, which included numerous attempts to fine-tune a formula that has already been continuously tinkered with to ensure a school year that is convenient for parents and students but also allows the flexibility to account for unforeseen circumstances, such as an excessive amount of snow days.
“On the revised version of this calendar that I’m presenting tonight, we will have school on Election Day in November, and instead of having a Superintendent’s Conference Day on Election Day, we would move that day to May 25, which is the day before Memorial Day,” he said. “On Election Day, we will be able to secure the building to keep voting in one area and we would hire additional security guards on those days. Also, on the Friday of Election Day week is Veterans Day, so that would make it a four-day week as opposed to a three-day week.”
Nagler noted that keeping school open on Election Day has been done before, and while not typical, this plan would free up an extra day on the school calendar that could be used as a snow day if needed. In addition, since the 2017 Election Day would not be centered on a Presidential race, voter attendance is expected to be lighter than last year.
The amended calendar was presented to the board of education members to consider, and if looked upon favorably Nagler said that it would be added to the following week’s agenda for further consideration.
With the winter season and snow an ever-looming possibility, Nagler took the opportunity to communicate to the public the process by which the administration of Mineola Schools goes about determining what actions they take to ensure the safety of their students if a sudden storm rears its head on any given day.
“Just to let you all in on the process, my colleagues and I are usually up very, very early…usually around 4 or 4:30 a.m., and we’re in communication with one another and we always know what other districts are doing. And we typically go along with what everyone else is doing unless it’s really bizarre,” he said. “Last Friday there was a threat of snow and we were up early watching, but it turned out to be nothing. But that’s the kind of scenario that would create a two-hour delay. We were supposed to get a dusting of one to two inches, but then the weather could clear up by 10 o’clock so there would be no reason not to have school. But if the weather became dangerous and the majority of our high school teachers travel here while it’s still dark at 6 a.m., we have to take all of that into consideration.”
Based on that information, Nagler said, he and the school administration make the decision to either cancel school altogether, or open with a two-hour delay; the latter choice being especially unpopular with parents in the district.
“It’s worse than closing school for some people because they have to juggle their entire schedule for the whole day,” he said. “So with all consideration for everyone…we really want to be open every day, we don’t ever want to close, but we do the best we can with each situation.”