by Heidi L. Everett
At the Feb. 17 Board of Education meeting, the 2021-22 academic calendar was approved with staggered start dates, new distance-learning days and the end of what many Minnesotans have known as “snow day” make-up days.
Beginning Tuesday, Aug. 31, high school students can attend goal-setting conferences.
On Wednesday, Sept. 1, goal-setting conferences will be held for students in ECFE, elementary and junior high grades.
Labor Day is Sept. 6, so schools are closed. Schools also are closed Sept. 7.
On Wednesday, Sept. 8, sixth-graders, students new to North and South Junior High schools, ninth-graders and students new to Apollo or Technical High Schools have their first day of classes. Goal-setting conferences for all grades also take place Sept. 8.
All District 742 students will be in class Thursday, Sept. 9.
The District also announced three digital-learning days on the calendar set for Oct. 1, Dec. 3 and March 4.
Dr. Marsha Baisch, assistant superintendent of elementary education, explained these are days planned for in advance and counted as instructional days.
Digital-learning days could include morning instruction, assignments posted and planned, potential teacher office hours on google meets, advisory meetings, collaborative planning and professional development, Baisch said.
“How those days will fully look is yet to be determined,” she said.
The addition of these days to the academic calendar are to remain prepared for any potential schedule changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re having these digital learning days for the purpose of having students continue to practice their digital learning skills in the event that something should change,” Baisch said.
“We’ve had to experience much of that this year, and we want to ensure our students continue to practice those skills,” she said.
‘Snow day’ makeup
Digital learning days are different than the e-learning days that came to be during distance learning this past year in inclement weather. On the academic calendar, e-learning days are weather related, and they replace the “snow days” that many Minnesotans were accustomed to as students.
The District has up to five e-learning days budgeted because of weather-related incidents, Baisch said.
The last day of school is Friday, June 3.