School districts that closed Wednesday due to dangerous windchills and those that stayed open both got their share of dings from students and parents.
But did either decision hurt student learning?
A study published last year by Harvard University researchers found that keeping schools open during a storm is more detrimental to learning than closing them.
Joshua Goodman, an assistant professor in Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, found the difference in student data from 2003 to 2010. He theorized that closing a school may be less detrimental because schools typically plan for them and can tack on extra days in the schedule.
"With slack time in the schedule, the time lost to closure can be regained," Goodman wrote. "Student absences, however, force teachers to expend time getting students on the same page as their classmates."
WSP makes moves to quit EMID district
The West St. Paul-Mendota Heights-Eagan school board unanimously approved a resolution to withdraw from the East Metro Integration District, a collaborative of 10 school districts designed to address racial and economic equity issues and promote integration.
District administrators believe the cost of belonging outweighs the benefits, and that the district could provide some services in-house. Membership this year costs $30 per student, or about $150,000 for the West St. Paul district. Next year, it will cost $10 per student. That's about $50,000 a year, but other programming costs will still bring the total to $150,000, district documents said.
Approving the resolution doesn't mean they are withdrawing immediately, said Superintendent Nancy Allen-Mastro, but "this puts us into an exploration phase." In a year, board members will make a final decision, effective July 2016.
New classrooms ready early at Valley View
Kindergartners at Valley View Elementary in Columbia Heights got a boost when they returned to school on Monday to find six new classrooms, courtesy of a $2.9 million project that wrapped up ahead of schedule and under budget.
School officials say the addition will help absorb enrollment gains at the school, which has won attention for its students' academic strides.
For example, the school's Hispanic, black and Asian students topped the statewide average of their peers in reading and math last year. Hispanic students — who make up about one-third of the student body — were 74 percent proficient in math. That's more than twice the statewide average.
St. Paul's Seeba won't seek re-election
St. Paul School Board member Louise Seeba will not seek re-election. In an online posting Sunday night, Seeba said that she remains committed to the city's students and its teachers, and to "public education in general."
Seeba, an assistant city attorney for St. Paul, is one of four incumbents whose seats are up for election this year. The others are Anne Carroll, Keith Hardy and Board Chairwoman Mary Doran. Doran held a campaign re-election event in early December.
Precinct caucuses are set for Feb. 3.