School Days, Snow Days, Grace Days, Make-Up Days -- and Waivers - - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

School Days, Snow Days, Grace Days, Make-Up Days -- and Waivers

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  Why does your school have to make-up a snow day, but another doesn't?  It all has to do with school district calendars and school day lengths.

North Dakota law says schools must provide 175 full instructional days.  So each school district builds snow days into its calendar -- some more than others.  Also, a school district may have chosen to exceed minimum daily instruction hours -- five and a half for elementary, six for secondary -- for the entire school year.  Doing so affords it a "grace" day, and relieves it from having to make up one snow day.

If a school uses all available days for weather-related cancellations, some make-up time by adding time to remaining school days, while others may add a Saturday.  How to comply with minimum State requirements is up to local districts, within limits.

"The local administration and school board approve their calendars in the Spring of the year for the following year.  They build those days in, and they determine the number of days, contact days, teacher days that they're going to have in their calendar, and consequently, some maybe don't do as good a job as others putting those storm days in the right place," says Matt Strinden, Director of Teacher and School Effectiveness, North Dakota Department of Public Instruction.

Of course, mother nature plays a role, as well, hitting some areas harder than others.
Schools can also seek a waiver, but only if they've used up all their weather-related and school break days in their calendars.  Right now, more than 30 such waivers are headed to the Governor for approval.


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