Minneapolis students will be headed to school on Feb. 14 and March 28 to partially offset time lost due to cancelation of classes this month for extreme cold weather, the district announced Monday.
More makeup days may be announced later in the year to offset the other three of five days lost to cold weather so far this month, the district said. The district also canceled the town hall-style school board meeting it had scheduled for Tuesday evening.
District spokesman Stan Alleyne said that testing schedules were the reason the district chose the two dates over the June 9 and 10 makeup days built into the school calendar for offsetting time lost to weather. Holding class earlier puts students in class before the state's standardized tests and before high school Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate tests, which fall in the spring.
Alleyne said the district will be understanding with families that already have scheduled out-of-town travel during the two makeup days, as long as parents go through normal channels for excused attendance.
The February 14 makeup day falls on a day when the district had scheduled parent-teacher conferences. It was to have been the first of a four-day break for students from school over the Presidents Day weekend.
The March 28 makeup day also falls on a Friday that was to have been the first day for students of a 10-day break from classes that marked spring break. That day had been a recordkeeping day in which teachers finish third-quarter grading.
The first two school day cancelations early this month lengthened the holiday break from 16 days to 18 days, while the remaining three cancelations fell last Thursday, Monday and Tuesday, meaning students were in class only one day in a five-day stretch.
The district said that it was conferring with the teacher union on how to handle previously scheduled parent-teacher conferences and grading. Alleyne said he didn't know yet when a decision would be made on the remaining three days that have been lost to weather.
He said, “We just feel like we need as many days as we can get. We understand that we have an achievement gap. We understand that we have students who need more time.”