What does a full school day feel like?
I’m not sure I remember. I do know that Friday was a tough day in my own household, getting three kids ready for school and myself ready for work and out the door on time. I felt like I’d put in a full work day already by the time I drove into the parking lot at work. And I noticed that the kids were extra grouchy Friday evening and headed to bed without being asked to. After all, it was the first full day of school in weeks.
And it’s not like riding a bicycle. There are specific skills to getting five people out of the door in the morning, dressed, fed, brushed and happy (or not) and on time. And if you don’t use them, you lose them.
And the kids? It’s difficult to get back into the swing of things even after a weekend. After this January and February thus far, with such spotty school attendance, Friday had to feel like the first day of school all over again. And teachers? It’s hard enough to battle the “Season of Forgetting” at the beginning of the school year, when kids have forgotten the most basic lessons they learned the grade before. Now teachers face that same season in the middle of the school year and have to reteach the things they’ve worked on for the first half of the year. Not to mention the fact that the clock is ticking and tests are coming sooner than anyone would like to think.
Is the 2013-14 school year a loss? I doubt it; we have plenty of time to recover. Will it be a tough row to hoe? Most certainly. Will it take students, parents, teachers and administrators working together? Absolutely. But will we make 180 days, as state law requires? No way.
Marion County school officials are trying to create a calendar that will accommodate what everyone wants and still have the dedicated classroom time. And they want to hear everyone’s opinion on the issue. In addition to two public meetings scheduled, officials have asked parents, students and teachers to also vote in an online survey on which time period they’d like to see for the school year.
Hey! We have an online survey, too! And it shows you the results immediately. It can be found each week at www.timeswv.com. So last week, we asked our readers to vote on the school calendar span they’d most like to see next year. And here’s what you had to say:
• The week of Aug. 25, 2014/June 15, 2015 — 10.11 percent.
• The week of Aug. 11, 2014/June 1, 2015 — 26.97 percent.
• The week of Sept. 1, 2014/June 22, 2015 — 28.09 percent.
• The week of Aug. 18, 2014/June 8, 2015 — 34.83 percent.
Online reader Sherrie Haller didn’t like any of the choices, however.
“School should start after Labor Day and end on, or very close thereafter, to Memorial Day,” Haller wrote. “The vacation days need shortened, and get rid of Faculty Senate days. Kids need a chance to enjoy summer and be a kid. High school kids need a chance to have summer jobs. Families need a chance to vacation together.”
We’re glad for the input, Sherrie. And remember, you can always respond online to our poll questions if you want to explain your vote, or as in Sherrie’s case, explain why you didn’t.
This week, let’s talk about CVS pulling all tobacco out of their stores nationwide as a stance against the habit. What do you think?
Log on. Vote. Email me or respond online.
What does a full school day feel like?
COLUMN: Freedom of Information — if you can pay
Several years ago, I made a Freedom of Information request to a local government agency. Within the five business days, as required by law, a packet of information was delivered to the office. I expected a bill, as most government offices have a charge that ranges from 25 cents to $1.25 per page for copies of the documents we request.
The reassuring spirit of Easter: One of new hope and beginnings
During the sub-zero and snow-filled months of winter, we maintained a spirit of hope that spring was on the way. It has now become a reality as all nature stretches and yawns and awakens once more to a new beginning. The fragrance of spring awakens our waiting nostrils, the budding beauty of new life brightens our eyes, and the reassuring idea of renewal stimulates our minds.
Unsung heroes handling calls in emergencies are appreciated
Thankfully, we live in a community where help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, just by dialing three numbers — 9-1-1.
During this week, which is recognized as National Public Safety Tele-Communicator’s Week nationwide, we need to remember that on the other end of that line are the men and women here in this county who are always there in case of accident, crimes, medical emergencies and any other catastrophic event.
Message to ‘buckle up and park the phone’ is saving lives
A figure that we haven’t seen that much in recent years is the highway death toll for a given period.
Is the death toll up, down or just about the same as it was?
The West Virginia Southern Regional Highway Safety Program has announced there were 325 highway fatalities in 2013, the second-lowest number on record.
State native Burwell can ‘deliver results’ as Health and Human Services secretary
Sylvia Mathews Burwell might not be a name with which most people are immediately familiar.
For the past year, she has run the budget office under President Barack Obama.
Prior to that, she served as president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program and later the Wal-Mart Foundation.
Marion scores well in recent health report but could do better
When it comes to area-wide studies, especially on health, there’s usually good news and bad news.
So was the recent report on the health of America’s counties released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently. The nationwide county study evaluated health outcomes and health factors, and ranked counties accordingly.
COLUMN: ‘Instant’ news not always reliable
That little word has a pretty big meaning. With origins that date back to the 15th century, it means urgent, current, immediate.
But think about how that word has developed over the past few decades.
Instant pudding. Instead of slaving over a hot stove for a few minutes, you can now pour cold milk and with a bit of stirring, instant pudding!
Decision to be an organ donor can save lives
Chelsea Clair watched as her father died waiting for a bone marrow transplant.
So when she met Kyle Froelich at a car show in 2009 and heard about his struggles to find a kidney that would match his unique needs, she never hesitated to offer hers to the man she just met.
Volunteers continue to have priceless impact on community
Chances are, you know someone who volunteers. Perhaps you’re a volunteer yourself.
Marion County is full of volunteers.
They read to our youth.
They assist nonprofit agencies.
They serve on boards and committees.
And in 2013, they spent a day picking up nearly 10 tons of garbage that had been tossed out on public property around Marion County.
Proposed school calendar lives up to letter and spirit of law
West Virginia state law requires that students be in a classroom for 180 days.
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- COLUMN: Freedom of Information — if you can pay