School Committee looking at many possible changes.

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Come mothers and fathers throughout the land And don’t criticize what you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command Your old road is rapidly agin’
Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand For the times they are a-changin’

The Lowell School Committee has a few items up for discussion TONIGHT that could possible make changes to the school year as we have known it.

While I agree that they are all worth discussing I am surprised that the members who are submitting the motions haven’t publicize them more to get discussion going and see how people feel. If it wasn’t for Teddy Panos on WCAP this morning, I wouldn’t have known about them. (don’t know why agenda isn’t on City website but just on School Dept. website, used to be able to find it on City site)

Some of these proposed change are in order and some long over due. It is about time that they were brought forward for discussion but need to be discussed with Parents, teachers and all stake holders.

Those that tend to look at things cynically, might say that these are just items that need to be bargained with the UTL and this is a way to let the public know that the school committee wants to discuss these things in negotiations.

Whatever is the reason, I would agree that all these items need to be looked at, reviewed and discussed with the parents and all stakeholders. I’ll address them 1 by 1

[by Kimberly Scott]: Request the Superintendent report on the feasibility and legality of the Lowell Public Schools implementing a blizzard bag or virtual school program during snow emergencies.

You’ll hear the outcry from some that you can’t do an on-line thing because “some kids” don’t have a computer at home but you can have teachers prepare lessons and give students a couple days work that will be collected and graded if they know there is a possibility of having no school for a day or two. Other places in the country do that.

[by Kristin Ross-Sitcawich]: Request the Superintendent work with staff to establish feasibility of utilizing April vacation to make up days missed from school due to weather emergencies, that otherwise would have extended the school year and establish protocols for future years, if feasibility is established.

Either you have or don’t have April vacation. You can’t tell parents that they “MIGHT” have a week off in April if it doesn’t snow. Some parents need to schedule a week off from work if their kids don’t have school and you can’t tell your boss, it depends on the snow. Plus you can’t have parents make plans for a trip only to say sorry we had a bad winter, your kids have days to make up.

I’d like to see a substitute motion that says, can we have 1 week off in March and eliminate the February & April vacations. That way you have 5 days for actual school days.

[by Kimberly Scott]: Request the Superintendent develop a plan to implement a delayed start in lieu of a school cancellation when appropriate.

I’m so old I remember when we had these when I was a kid. With so many translators available, there is no reason we cannot get this message out in a variety of Languages and different media outlets (including social media) to inform the students and parents. Why lose an entire day when a 2 hour delay would work?

[by Kimberly Scott]: To cancel the Good Friday holiday observation day.

When I was a kid, St. Michael’s would have a walkathon that Morning to rise money for the poor. Then we went to church in the afternoon. (I was an altar server, no Mass on Good Friday, Stations of the Cross) but now days not many people even go to church on Easter let alone Good Friday! We don’t close for Jewish Baptist , Buddhist or Cambodian Holy Days why do we still close for this one? If a parent wants there kids to go to church, they can and send in a note and the absence would be excused for religious reasons. How many teachers would use / abuse this day? Who knows but it should be at least looked at and reviewed.

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