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Thursday, September 21, 2017

John Meeks: use early release days to make up weather days!

Dear Editors,

After the damage has been done by Hurricane Irma, there is still a storm to be weathered with the remainder of the school year in Duval County.

The school system has built-in 'weather days' on which are treated as additional days off until they are needed to make up for school closings.  There were five weather days allotted for this school year.  Hurricane Irma closed Duval County Public Schools for six days.  And hurricane season is not over yet.

I know that it is essential for us to recover lost learning time for our students.  I also know that we cannot win any war debating which days to sacrifice to play a futile game of catch up.  For example, December 21 is slated to be a make up day.  Do we really think that attendance will be high on that day?

Instead, I think that we should suspend early dismissal days for the remainder of the school year.  First of all, those 'half days' wreak havoc with block schedule planning, parent pick up times, and after school programs.  

For those who would lament the loss of professional development and faculty collaboration, don't worry.  Teachers have PLC (department or team) meetings, monthly faculty meetings, and online training that can do the job just as well if not better than early dismissal days.

For those parents who still can't quite pin down when their child gets out of school on any given Wednesday, this is your chance to have one less thing to worry about after the storm and the school system can make it happen.

I know that I am not alone in this sentiment.  Please prove me right, community.


John Louis Meeks, Jr.


  1. ERD are useless. They should've gotten rid of them before the school year & turned them into 1 or 2 extra planning days. Of course teachers don't need planning (or $$ apparently) so they'd just turn them into weather days like they did last year.

  2. This is a great idea. I agree make-up days had very low attendance last year. I am sure the district will say, but teachers were paid for those days. Consider it a small stipend for all of the nights and weekends we spend planning at open house, at fall carnival, in parent conferences. Plus the 12 month district office employees did not have to make-up all their days because some of the make-up days last year were days they were already scheduled to work. When I questioned this I never got a reply. As usual, less than open and honest communication. You