Last day of school set for May 24

Thomas Jamieson-Lucy

Chemistry teacher Stephanie Harmen has taken her class outside the school building for the past week to combat the heat within the building. With snow days not likely in the next few weeks, school will let out May 24. Photo by Muhammad Al-Rawi
Barring any more school closings due to inclement weather, the last day of class for Columbia Public School students will be Thursday, May 24. After only using two snow days this year, and assuming there will be no more snow days, the district subtracted four days from the end of the school year, eliminating four of the six built-in inclement weather days that were not used.
This date is much earlier than last year’s release date of June 3; last year eight snow days were used, two more than the six built into the schedule. This resulted in days being added onto the end of the calendar instead of subtracted. This year’s mild winter allowed for days to be subtracted.
This calendar will only apply “if we get no more snow days,which looks like a pretty good bet,” Dr. Sally Beth Lyons, the chief academic officer for CPS, said. “We could get a late spring storm, but if we get no more snow days, the last day of school will be [May] 24.”
An early release date is preferable to having snow days in the middle of the year, Lyons said, because it works better with teaching schedules. AP Biology teacher Kerri Graham agreed that having fewer snow days allows more content to be covered  before the AP tests in early May.
“We’ll be able to get more material in before the AP test comes rolling around,” Graham said. “It was great this year not having those snow days and worrying about reconfiguring. What happens when you have so many snow days is some of the fun stuff that you build into the curriculum gets taken out because you need to get to some meatier things that get you what you need to get before the test comes along.”
Ending school earlier also makes the transition to summer school smoother since the break between the end of school and the start of summer school on June 4 is longer.
“If we finish the regular school year before Memorial Day, it makes a much easier start to summer school,” Lyons said. “We have a little time in between the end of the school year and summer school.”
By Thomas Jamieson-Lucy