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Lost Sandy Days Waiver Sought by Hopatcong BOE

District faces making up two weeks of classes.

The Hopatcong Borough School District has asked the state Department of Education for a waiver of some rules to provide flexibility in addressing the need to schedule two weeks of classroom time lost to Hurricane Sandy.

School Board president Clifford Lundin said at Monday’s board meeting that the high school lost 12 days of instruction and the other schools lost 11 days when the storm forced the schools to close. By law, New Jersey public schools must schedule 180 days of instruction.

Whatever decision is made, Lundin said, the Christmas vacation will not be affected.

He said the education department will have to make a statewide decision because of the large number of schools closed by the storm.

One possibility, Lundin said, is adding some instructional time to each school day.

The district is not seeking to just tack the days on the end of the school year, Lundin said.

“We can’t be sitting here June 30 just to meet 180 days,” Lundin said.

Superintendent Charles Maranzano said a key issue is that schedules  for certain standardized tests can not be changed.

He said in its letter to the state, the board made it clear that any solution to the lost days has to consider the district can not change the dates of the SATs or the state’s required HSPA test.

In other scheduling matters affect by Sandy, Lundin said parents whose students were approved by the Hopatcong board to apply to other districts under the state’s choice program, should contact the other school to see when the district plans to hold its lottery.

The board approved the applications of 11 eighth graders to apply to Lenape Valley Regional High School in Stanhope, a fourth grader and a second grader to attend school in Wharton or the Morris Hills Regional School District, and an eighth grade to apply to Morris Hills High School.

Ggggary November 20, 2012 at 12:00 PM
What's wrong with just making up the days? Cancel spring break, MLK day, and tack the rest of the days on the end of the year. Why do educators always seem to look for a way out of their duty?
Lynn Anne Cutler November 20, 2012 at 12:53 PM
I am glad to hear it. I don't mind if they try to pick up a day or two here or there, but to try to fit in twelve days would take away the down time the kids (and parents) need. Kids are natural learners, and they learned a ton during the storm and its aftermath, much of which they wouldn't ever have learned in school. Our kids talked to a Red Cross worker from Kentucky about the Kentucky Derby and KFC, they learned about CERT and hurricanes, they learned a TON about how we use electricity (and gasoline) and how people live without it - and our fourth grader was so affected by the election that he hand wrote a letter to President Obama with some suggestions for his second term (and if you know my son, you know the schools have to pull teeth to get him to write anything longer than a spelling word!) The schools might miss a couple of week of prep for the standardized tests, but I can't see two weeks affecting the schools' ratings to a huge degree either. It is what it is. I'm glad they're back in school, and they've been through enough already without having to have breaks cut or longer school days or whatever imposed on them, too.
Sam November 20, 2012 at 12:58 PM
Mr, Lundin is miscounting the days..Teacher Convention was scheduled as 2 off days..So it is 9 and 10 days to be made up
BeachBum November 20, 2012 at 01:06 PM
Just do what Jefferson is doing - school on mlk day and presidents day and take off some spring break days
Michele November 20, 2012 at 02:19 PM
We lost 9 days and 10 days for the high school. 2 days were scheduled off for teachers convention.
Sam November 20, 2012 at 02:35 PM
And sure Hopatcong is not going to get a waiver for 10 days but maybe 3-5.. MLK Day, Friday before Presidents Day, Good Friday and even Saturdays should be considered and a resolution needs to be finalized and implemented by next meeting. It probably would have been talked at this meeting if HEA would stop there petty sit ins and actually start putting children first. What I saw last night makes me ashamed and embarrassed as a parent of a hopatcong student and a resident of this town..Work action ok, but not at the expense of ANY CHILDS future.. Write the recommendation letters..
Chidren Are First November 20, 2012 at 02:47 PM
How come nothing is ever mentioned about the HEA and their bully tactics? Yet they turn it around and act like they are being bullied...What a joke and Mr. Ryder telling a student he could not write a reccommendation letter shows union FIRST..SHAME ON ANY TEACHER FOR THAT STANCE. Hey HEA..your hearing was postponed due to unforseen circumsatances..Show some good faith to the students and parents of these kids..Write the letters of recommendation..rest of job action is your choice but using the kids as pawns and possibly hurting their chances at elite education, just wrong..Hope most of you are retire of fired for poor teaching by time my kids get to High shool or I will be applying to other more qualified districts too
Robyn November 20, 2012 at 03:17 PM
This is what I was thinking!
The "Original" Hopatcong Mom November 20, 2012 at 03:36 PM
You can't take away days that are considered "Federal" holidays such as President's Day and Good Friday! But I agree with Sam about the Friday of Winter Break and MLK Day (which they took away last year). I would keep Good Friday and the Monday after Easter but make them go back Tue-Fri of Spring Break, that makes up 6 days, since we are getting out the 14th of June (which is early), I would tack onthe rest to the end of the year! Saturday School IS NOT a good idea!!! Many high schoolers have jobs and other activities and MANY teachers and Support Staff also have weekend jobs which would make going to school on the weekends difficult. They will figure it out!
Michele Meyer November 20, 2012 at 04:29 PM
The days should be made up during MLK, President's Day, and Spring Break. I have to work all those dates and have put my children in daycare anyway as does many parents in Hopatcong. It would not be a hardship for the kids. They are out of school more than they are in. Honestly that makes the most sense to me. Many parents are in agreement so I am not sure why this was not an easy vote. The more kids are in school the less chance for them to get into trouble, which seems to happen alot in Hopatcong. Also - we need to stop teaching just to pass tests and start teaching for the point of teaching.
Michele Guttenberger November 20, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Michele - Good point . Isn't it funny how our leaders are poor at doing simple math problems but are responsible for solving the bigger ones. Maybe they should be asking the students' advice on a solution. Have them vote - more days in June or giving up vacation days. Kids are use to doing math problems they get to practice them every day in shchool while school adminstrators might be rusty at this method of thinking.
Surenuff November 20, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Someone should stand up for our kids! I am completely disgusted at what I saw and heard last night! For any teacher to justify penalizing children's futures for personal gain is absurd and ridiculous! Even more insulting for one to actually apologize to a pleading child and say "its not in my contract" has got to be the most selfish thing I have ever heard! Fine you want your contracts, we want better rankings! The BOE and Teachers need to set their petty issues aside and think about these kids. BULLYS is what they all are! Mr Rider claimed the union was being bullied by the BOE, so in turn its alright to bully our kids! SHAME ON YOU!!! Keep your agenda amongst yourselves and leave our kids out of it! You don't speak for all the teachers in Hopatcong just as I don't for all parents and taxpayers. There are some GREAT teachers here and you just made them look bad by running your mouth. How dare he, and anyone who thinks as he should leave, and let the ones who deserve it negotiate and fight for the contracts. Write the recommendations or we can write some of our own.
Quashinna Williams November 20, 2012 at 04:53 PM
I find it sad the events of last night. I am for supporting our teachers just not at the expense of any child. I love this town but am not willing to risk/gamble my child's future with a few bad apples. I may have come across abrupt but my point is valid and simple. Please write the recommendations, these kids did nothing wrong and don't deserve to be caught in the middle.
Terry Bond November 20, 2012 at 05:01 PM
It's not just standardized tests. High school students in AP classes have to take the AP exams in May. The exams are administered on the same day everywhere in the country. The kids in this part of the country are already at a disadvantage because they have less time to learn the material with school running Sept to June, where is other places school runs Aug to May. I think they need to go for full days, when the breaks (MLK day, President's Day, Spring Break) are scheduled. Adding on to the school day will only add a few minutes per period for the high school, which I don't think will mean much more teaching/learning time. Full days with full class periods would be much more beneficial.
Kelly Rodick November 20, 2012 at 05:04 PM
FYI Ggggary....educators are not looking for "a way out of their duty"....they are trying to make up for the educational time lost PRIOR to the locked in, state mandated dates for standardized tests. In this way, the students will have access to all the instruction they would have received prior to the test had Sandy not occurred, and have the best chance for achieving proficient scores (or hopefully better).
Cliff Lundin November 20, 2012 at 05:44 PM
Sam, you are correct. One of the teachers caught my mistake and we corrected it later in last night's meeting.
Edubb November 20, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Teachers should be embarassed for the stand that they are taking on the student letters. Many children need the letter to get them into a college. It is a very competitive field and having a letter will definately put you ahead. Too bad the teachers have long forgotten how its for the kids and any issues they have should be dealt with them not turn around to bully our kids and jeopardize their future. Shame on you HEA.
g. whittaker November 20, 2012 at 06:53 PM
an easy solution is to make up 4 hours per day missed, as half days of school are counted within the 180 days required. or less hours per day if the n.j.d.o.e would approve
Lurky Loo November 20, 2012 at 07:02 PM
Another greedy display by our teachers who want want want and have NO problems holding our children's education for ransom! Should have fired every last high school teacher and made them reapply for their jobs. Hired our best back and gotten rid of the selfish, just in it for the benefits leeches! It has become very apparent that our present lot does not want to take responsibility, accountabilityor do anything outside their stick it to the taxpayer contracts. I say the kids should go on strike or at least the seniors since its their life our teachers are ruining. Still think its about the kids?
Lurky Loo November 20, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Its OK about the AP test... our teachers aren't smart enough to teach on an AP level anyway (and judging by our ranking, they don't care either). Most of the kids don't score higher than a 2 or 3 when it takes a 4 or 5 to be able to skip that class in college. Waste of 100 bucks!
michele siciliano November 21, 2012 at 12:30 AM
Honesty when is ever about the kids. I am so tired of all we are subject to by this school system. I have a word of advice for young parents get out while you can because It's only getting worse every year.
Joyce Gould November 21, 2012 at 02:07 AM
Why can't kids go to June 30? Randolph schools go to the end of June. Most European schools only have a month off in the summer and have longer days. Somehow their children service, so ours also would.
Terry Bond November 21, 2012 at 03:00 AM
Lurky, There are definitely kids who score high enough to pass and get college credit for their AP classes, so yes the AP classes are important.
Jessica November 22, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Randolph schools do not go to the end of June. Both of my parents work for Randolph and it goes to June 20th.
Josh Dubnick November 25, 2012 at 11:26 PM
How about a little thinking out of the box? A weekend or 2 of programs--a weekend trip to Washington DC or a camping trip to Mohican Outdoor Center would add 2 days (or 3 if done on a holiday weekend) and the kids would be having so much fun that they wouldn't realize that they are actually learning. Younger kids could do day trips like Space Farms, the Franklin Mine or the Newark Museum (if it still has a great children's museum as it did when I was young),. Perhaps a day trip to the National Weather Service in Mount Holly would help teach how the storm was forecast and tracked. I don't know what problems there might be in such an endeavor but I'm guessing that the school board is getting quite a bit of FEMA money to reimburse for some costs and maybe some of that could be legitimately be used to restore education time lost thus reducing the cost of a weekend away or day trips.

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