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Londonderry will take another look at blizzard bags

Union Leader Correspondent

February 21. 2014 10:07PM

LONDONDERRY — With at least another month of winter to go, Londonderry students have already missed five days of school due to storms, leading district officials to reconsider their options.

During Thursday night’s Londonderry School Board meeting, Superintendent Nathan Greenberg said the option of “blizzard bags” is back on the table again.

While it’s too late to start such a program in the current school year, the take-home packets of assignments for kids to complete at home during snow-days could become part of next year’s curriculum, though it’s too soon to tell yet, Greenberg said.

School officials said they’re currently in the process of obtaining information from other districts that use blizzard bags.

“We’re finding out what has worked and what hasn’t,” Greenberg said. “Once we get all of that information together, we’ll bring it before the board.”

A public discussion on the matter is expected sometime this spring, he added.

School Board Chairman Nancy Hendricks said she’s heard from plenty of parents eager to explore the blizzard bag options.

“We’ve had overwhelming support on this,” Hendricks said. “With a district filled with such brilliant and talented staff, I think the time has come for a thoughtful discussion on building up a thoughtful curriculum for our students when they can’t be in school.”

Greenberg said the state Department of Education permits districts to utilize blizzard bags for up to five school days per calendar year.

The Londonderry district had previously looked at the option several years ago and even conducted an experimental “blizzard bag” day on a staff workshop day.

School officials said 98 percent of district students participated in the pilot.

“If we were to do this permanently, I’d want to make sure it makes sense for the vast majority of people, and that we have enough time to plan properly,” Greenberg said.

As for the current school year, the board voted unanimously in favor of holding regular classes on March 14, which was initially scheduled to be a parent workshop day.

Greenberg said parent workshops would still be held, but would have to be scheduled around classes that day.

With this week’s schedule change, the last day of school in Londonderry is currently June 19, though that could be moved in the event of another snow day.

State law prevents districts from extending the school year beyond June 30.

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