Calamity days not so calamitous after all

by Benjamin Delhees

A cold, snowy morning in the middle of January raises the confidence of many high school students in hope of a snow day, a wish that for Saint Ignatius students was granted more often this year than most. But the surfeit of days off raises important questions about the consequences for a the test-saturated student body of a school whose core academic function is to prepare its graduates to enter and succeed in college.

A study done by the Buckeye Association of School Administrators showed that the average number of calamity days during the 2013-14 school year was nine across four hundred different school districts. Saint Ignatius High School scored a total of four, and some teachers believe that their classes have certainly felt the effects of what these days can bring about.

Educators, after all, are the professionals who are forced to adapt their tried-and-true lesson plans to conform to the unusual changes in their schedule. The reality of limited time means that some teachers may have had to cut many different activities such as review days and projects, elements that may be essential to the average student’s learning experience.

However, not all teachers believe that the limited time had deleterious effects on their students.

“Because the presentations and reviews I had to skip were additional pieces of work,” Mr. Bob Corrigan said, his students were not adversely impacted.

Many review days for AP Exams were cut as a result of the abnormally large number of school days lost, according to teachers such as Mr. Corrigan and Mr. Hess. Corrigan nonetheless affirms that the days of were justified, although he pushed his AP European History class’s test date back as part of an aid program instituted by the College Board.

“Student safety is the top priority,” Corrigan said.

The health of the student body is thus paramount in the eyes of at least one stressed college-prep test teacher. But the underlying fact is that calamity days have significantly impacted the way in which teachers have had to educate their students.

Mr. Hess, an AP Economics teacher at St. Ignatius, may speak for many of the school’s Advanced Placement teachers who were forced to contend with unexpectedly close exam dates.
“I wish I had more time,” he said.