Rescheduled development day draws critics, questions

The Board of Education voted 6-2 at its meeting Monday night to reschedule a professional development day for Thursday, Feb. 15.

The board had originally scheduled the professional development period for the afternoon of  Dec. 14, after students would have been released on an early dismissal. But thanks to a last-minute flurry of snow in the morning, schools had a delayed opening and the administration was forced to cancel the professional development time in favor of dismissing students at the usual time.

The change drew the ire of parents, many of whom had made plans for the day, said Walton. In a report on correspondence to the board, board secretary Margaret Stamatis said 10 emails had been received about the proposed change in scheduling.

Board member Sharon D’Orso raised the issue of how the change had been communicated to parents.

“Was that put out … that if there’s snow, there might be school in the afternoon?” she asked  Superintendent Karen Baldwin.

Katherine Holz, who joined the board in November, also had questions.

“I want to ask, because it was asked in a bunch of the emails … could it be any other day?” she asked.

But Baldwin argued that much of the professional development work “wouldn’t be relevant” after February. The learning opportunities had been developed by the staff, for the staff, she explained. Transportation concerns prevented the schools from holding an early dismissal after a delayed opening, she explained.

Carina Borgia-Drake, who also joined the board in November, was similarly critical of rescheduling on Feb. 15.

“I’m thinking of two working parents,” she said, who would have to reschedule their day because of the board’s decision to reschedule the day. That would form a hardship for them, she argued.

Borgia-Drake and D’Orso both voted against the proposed rescheduling, with Vice Chairman Doug Silver absent from the table.