Duluth school district students probably will have longer days for the rest of the year and two days added to the calendar to make up for wintry weather.
The Duluth School Board will vote Tuesday on a plan. Beginning March 24, 12 minutes would be added to the end of each of the remaining school days. May 16, originally scheduled as a staff development day, would become a regular school day. June 6, scheduled as a teacher work day, also would become a regular day for instruction. The plan puts about 3.6 days back into the calendar year for instruction to help make up for seven days lost to frigid or snowy weather.
The loss of seven days is "way more than I am comfortable with," Superintendent Bill Gronseth said.
For middle and high schools, the 12 minutes means two minutes are added to each of their six class periods. Teachers have agreed to the changes.
Board member Rosie Loeffer-Kemp said she supports the decision, having heard from many people regarding the issue who make plans based on the district's calendar. Students aren't necessarily the most attentive at the end of the year, she said.
The proposed plan "allows educators to continue to provide meaningful instruction time," she said. "It shows some flexibility, and the importance of student contact time in a school year."
Member Annie Harala said the plan cuts the least into family vacation times, such as spring break or those in the summer. The amount of time added back is important because of the investment the community has made in Duluth schools, she said, referring to the November operating levies.
"We want to make sure we are supporting students to get as much learning as they can," she said.
The Proctor and Carlton school districts also have approved adding days back within the calendar year, two each. Several other area districts said earlier this winter they had plans to add one or more days to their calendars.
The board also will vote next week on a revised immunization policy, which would strengthen the one it currently uses. It would result in giving school nurses the option of excluding students from school if they don't have proper documentation either for immunizations or for not having them. Exclusion would be a last resort, school officials have said.