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Snow days: Fun for kids, bad for grades

Snow days: Fun for kids, bad for grades



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SALT LAKE CITY -- Even in a blizzard, Utah educators loathe to cancel school if they don't have to.

Paul Hansen, Granite School District's director of high schools says, "We certainly recognize the value of instructional time for kids."

New research focused on Maryland and Colorado says when students miss school days because of bad weather it drops math scores. Researchers found for every inch of snow, math assessments for third-, fifth- and eight-graders dropped by about half of a percentage point. Hansen says this doesn't totally surprise him.

"[Adding things] such as end-of-term days or other non-attending student days, when you begin to add all of those things together, then I can certainly understand why that would impact test scores," he says.

He says putting together the yearly calendar without too many frivolous days off is hard enough.

"Our only real objective is to build a calendar that hopefully will be best for our students and meet the needs of our parents," Hansen says.

This gets harder as not all parents agree on what a vacation should look like.

"There's quite a difference of opinion," Hansen explains. "There are parents that would love us to capture all of those little days here and there and put them into long vacations where they might be able to do things with their children."

But other parents like shorter vacations. They feel it's easier to find day care for their kids if they only have to use it one day at a time.

E-mail: pnelson@ksl.com

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Paul Nelson

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