District implements school day changes after harsh winter

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published May 7, 2014

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Michigan residents just experienced the worst winter since 1880.

The record-breaking snowfall coupled with the extreme cold resulted in an unprecedented number of school cancellations around metro Detroit.

Locally, L’Anse Creuse Public Schools officials were forced to cancel classes six days this past winter, causing some schools to exceed by one day the number allowed by state law.

Now it’s time to make up that time, officials say.

In a letter to parents and staff, Superintendent Jackie Johnston said that after careful review, it was determined that Early Child Special Education (ECSE) students, and students at Green Elementary, L’Anse Creuse High School, L’Anse Creuse High School-North and Frederick V. Pankow Center need to make up that lost academic time.

“Michigan legislation requires that all districts meet a minimum number of instructional hours and days each school year,” she said. “The minimum includes ‘forgiven time’ for school cancellations due to inclement weather or building problems.”

Effective April 14, the start and end times for the ECSE programs were adjusted; the morning classes now start at 8:18 a.m., and afternoon classes release at 2:18 p.m. — 1:18 p.m. on Wednesdays. 

The district’s Community Relations Coordinator Kelly Allen said those parents were informed by their child’s teacher, and the change is by mere minutes, which has had minimal impact on daily routines. In some instances, a school bus may arrive or drop off a couple of minutes earlier or later, or there would be a few minutes more prep time before the start or end of class.

“Just the few minutes time difference daily doesn’t affect us,” said Nicole, one ECSE parent. “But if there were extra days added, then that could mess up vacation plans.”

At Green Elementary School Friday, June 6, has been changed from a half-day of school to a full-day, with dismissal at 3:55 p.m. In addition, Monday, June 9, has been added to the calendar as a half-day of school, with dismissal at 12:10 p.m.

At the two high schools and at the Pankow Center, seniors will now attend school on Tuesday, May 20. Monday, June 9, has been added to the calendar year as a half-day for freshmen, sophomores and juniors, with dismissal at 9:15 a.m.

All elementary schools — except Green — and all middle schools were not impacted.

Green Elementary was closed on Nov. 18 due to a power outage. The high school freshmen, sophomores and seniors did not attend school on March 4 while the junior class took the Michigan Merit Exam (MME). Therefore, both schools were scheduled for one less day of instruction, which puts them below the threshold, Allen confirmed.

The National Weather Service reports metro Detroit had 94.8 inches of snow this past winter, breaking the record of 93.6 inches during the 1880-1881 season.