No snow? What NJ schools should do with any unused snow days
It's another school year throughout The Great Garden State—that time when more structure and early mornings return for many of New Jersey's youngest residents.
Sometimes it's bittersweet to bid summer farewell. But it's also a new chapter for beginnings and growth.
And of course, the countdowns are always on for the next big thing. Right after September begins, most kids and teens look forward to their next stretch off.
November in New Jersey, of course, is well known for its teachers' conventions and the Thanksgiving holiday. In other words, it's a month full of days off from school.
Then the next stretch is that time between Christmas and New Year. After that, it's the Easter spring break before we finally get back to another Summer season.
Most of the time, New Jersey's schools wrap up around June 18. That date can vary, of course, but that's typically around the time it happens.
Now with winter, it's not uncommon for New Jersey to see some snow. And school districts, for the most part, prepare for that with a certain number of built-in snow days.
Most schools have up to three built-in snow days to help prevent them from going late into June. Some years we get a lot of snow, while others we get virtually nothing.
The winter of 2023 was one of those nothing years. In fact, the majority of the winter season felt more like spring than anything.
And when that happens, our schools usually don't use any of their snow days. That, of course, begs the question.
What should they do with those unused days? Should our kids just keep those days and add some more learning hours toward the school year?
Probably not. In fact, most schools most likely would avoid that option in the first place. Once New Jersey hits its required number of days, the school year should be over.
The most popular option would simply be to end the school year early. That overall seems to be the simplest way to go.
And who wouldn't love an earlier end date in June? Just kickstart that summer season and end classes then.
But there is another option some school districts might opt for. And it's one that my own district did (ours wasn't the only district in the state to do this, either).
Instead of ending the 2022-2023 school year sooner, our district opted to extend the Memorial Day weekend. This essentially gave us a six-day holiday break instead of the traditional three days we typically would get.
I honestly don't remember that happening when I was growing up, and I didn't think it was an option schools went for. I always just thought that when no snow days are used, they would simply end the school year earlier.
In my opinion, I wasn't a big fan of that solution. It essentially was a pre-summer vacation before starting the official summer break.
It also required some work schedule adjustments on our part to accommodate this. Fortunately, we had about a month's lead time to know about this change so it wasn't a total surprise.
What stunk for the kids though is when other districts in the area decided to end the school year sooner. Those kids were out on break while ours still had to attend classes in hot classrooms.
Of course, there's also a flip side to this argument that a long Memorial Day weekend is better. Some families might like the idea of having a six-day stretch to go away for a few days.
It's not a bad option to have an extended Memorial Day weekend, it's just different. As for me, I think I would just prefer the school year to end sooner.
So if we have no snow this year, what would you prefer? Would you rather the school district tack on more days to the Memorial holiday weekend, or would you prefer them just end the school year early?
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The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 Sunday morning host Mike Brant. Any opinions expressed are his own.