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Weather Cancellations Prompt Makeup Days at Northland Schools

Updated: 02/24/2014 7:22 PM
Created: 02/24/2014 4:38 PM WDIO.com
By: Travis Dill
tdill@wdio.com

This winter has done a number on school schedules in the Northland with insurmountable snowfalls and the frigid temperatures causing cancellations. Some districts have canceled school eight times, and now superintendents have started planning makeup days to meet state requirements.

The Proctor Schools have closed eight times this winter. It's a shocking total for Superintendent John Engelking.

“Well this year is beyond normal, certainly. Just walk outside and look at the snow piles and consider the polar vortex, if you will, so it's been different,” Engelking said.

Minnesota requires 1020 hours of instruction for high schoolers, but Engelking said districts typically play it safe and schedule more. Still, this winter's taken its toll and he is bringing students in for two makeup days.

Engelking said students are usually off on a few staff development days, but he hopes the school board will approve the make up days. 

“What we've done this year, and for the first time ever, we're building those staff development days back into instructional days,” Engelking said.

He said the district has not lost any state funding and will not if the requirement is met. Of course the Proctor district is not the only school impacted by the winter weather in the Northland.

In Grand Marais the Cook County Schools have canceled six times due to the weather. Two makeup days for March 14 and April 11. Any additional closures will prompt another makeup day on April 25.

Down the shore in Two Harbors the Lake Superior School District missed eight days so far. Three makeup days have been planned with another three to be scheduled.

Esko Public Schools have missed seven days of class. The superintendent said four will be made up with one being a staff development day and three being added on to the end of the year. A cancellation last Friday has not yet been factored into the schedule.

Cloquet Public Schools have canceled six times, but the superintendent said no makeup days have been planned.

On the Iron Range the Virginia Minnesota Public Schools have closed five times due to weather and no makeup days have been planned. However, the superintendent said the harsh winter has administrators considering the addition of snow days into next year's schedule.

The Duluth School District was on break during the storm last week, but the district has closed seven times earlier this year. Administrators said four make up days are pending school board approval. The dates include May 16, June 6, 9, and 10.

Across the border in Wisconsin the Superior School District has added three makeup days including April 21, June 12 and 13. The district also closed twice last week on Thursday and Friday. Administrators are deciding how to address those missed instructional hours.

In Ashland three makeup days have been planned for the public schools. The School District of Ashland had one makeup day on Feb. 17 and two more are scheduled for March 17 and April 21.

There was one thing weighing on the minds of every superintendent in the Northland. Spring is still weeks away. Most tried to remain optimistic like Engelking.

“As we look to the future we are hopeful that we've gotten the brunt of the winter weather early and we're in for a quick and early and happy spring,” Engelking said.

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