Local Schools Scramble to Make Up Snow Days

Maryland students -- and parents -- may find out soon how long their kids will be in school this year.

The state plans to begin telling school districts this week which districts will get snow day waivers.

The waivers are needed because many districts have missed significant amounts of school due the D.C. area's ridiculously snowy winter. Schools that fail to get waivers might have to extend the school year -- and shorten summer vacation.

The snow day crunch has already thoroughly scrambled schedules, in Maryland as well as in Virginia and in D.C. Fauquier County, Va. schools have missed 17 days; the district has turned planned early-dismissal days into full days and added 10 minutes to each school day.

Frederick County, Md. has missed 12 days and has cut deeply into spring break. That county is among those in Maryland asking for a waiver.

A waiver will help Maryland districts meet their obligations under state law -- but it doesn't help kids learn, nor does it help teachers shovel out their spring lesson plans and calendars.

AP exams still happen in mid-May. And many graduations won't move, either. At Frederick High School it will still happen the day after Memorial Day.

"You have a deadline ... and it doesn't matter how many days you're in school, you have to meet that deadline, said Frederick County social studies teacher Beth Strakonsky. 

Teachers say they're keeping kids after school for makeup lessons more often than any time in memory.

"When there are things out of your control, like the weather, you have to make it work to your advantage," said Kathy Campagnoli, principal of Frederick High School.

Montgomery County public schools say they had considered extending the third quarter marking period, which is set to end Friday. But the district opted not to -- and teachers will have to push whatever lessons were missed to the fourth quarter.

Fairfax County schools say they'll decide next week whether to add minutes to remaining school days to make up for lost time, or possibly add a June day to the school year.

The snow day crunch has even reached beyond secondary education. Some local colleges say the surge of snow days has forced changes to the admissions process; they're late getting their acceptance letters in the mail.

George Washington University was not among those schools -- but only because their admissions team worked through the snow days to keep the schedule on track.

Here's a look at the time missed at local districts -- and what the districts are doing about it.

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