The Ramsey Board of Education is still debating whether or not it should move the High School graduation this June back to its original date. Members of the board said at a meeting Tuesday night they hope to have the calendar debate settled by next Tuesday, but warned that there are pros and cons to both available options - , and moving it back to its original date, Friday June 21.
Parents have been petitioning the board for over a month asking it to reconsider a decision made in November that added a week of school at the end of June to make up for days missed during and after Hurricane Sandy. Parents have said already made travel plans and college open houses scheduled for the final week of June would prohibit students from attending graduation on the later date.
A committee is now in the midst of determining if graduation can be moved back, while still having all students in the district attend classes for the state-mandated 180 days.
If graduation is moved to June 21, and the district uses the two snow days it has built in to the calendar, board members said graduation day would be the 180th for RHS seniors. The board is considering that day being the last for only the Class of 2013, and having the high school’s 9th through 12th graders attend school the following week.
However, that solution presents challenges, Board member Jim Meiman explained. For example, splitting end-of-year final exams could be problematic, he said.
High School Principal Dr. Michael Thumm is working on a plan that would both make the exam schedule work, and come up with ways that the final week of school after graduation could be filled with “meaningful learning” for lowerclassmen. Thumm is expected to present his plan to the board before its meeting next Tuesday.
The calendar reshuffle also affected the Smith School 8th grade promotion ceremony. At this week’s meeting, board president Anthony Gasparovich said the 8th grade ceremony would most likely remain on , because if it was pushed back to its original date and the district used its two snow days, 8th graders would fall below the state-mandated minimum number of school days.
As school officials work to determine the end-of-year dates, board members said snow days may still throw the entire schedule off. If the district uses more than two snow days, it may need to add in school days in “creative ways,” like Saturday classes. If it uses less, the board said days off would be added into the calendar at the end of the extended school year, instead of surrounding the Memorial Day Break, as originally planned.
Despite parent suggestions, board members said they are not likely to take away days from spring break in order to shorten the school year.
“We have to balance [the concerns of] 250 graduates with 2700 other students in the district,” Gasparovich said. “But, we all understand the importance of high school graduation and want to make a decision.”
The board said it will try to make a decision by next Tuesday night’s meeting.