This winter has been full of snow, freezing rain and the ever-frustrating weather prediction of “wintry mix,” which leaves us in suspense as to whether or not we will have school the next day. Accordingly, the 2013-2014 school year has had more snow days and two-hour delays than any year in recent history, and class work schedules have fallen behind significantly. As public schools around us schedule to make up days during spring break, summer vacation, and long weekends, MFS students have been left to wonder if we will follow suit. At the moment, it doesn’t seem likely. A recent email announcement from Head of School Larry Van Meter explained the decision-making process in school cancellation or delays. On most occasions, Moorestown Friends School follows the decision of the Lenape and Moorestown School Districts because MFS shares buses with them. While this is generally true, MFS occasionally deviates, as demonstrated during our unusual early closing one day this year. Ultimately, Van Meter personally makes the decision after consulting with physical plant director Larry Brandimarto and examining the campus himself.
The decision-making process aside, the more pressing issue is whether or not MFS will make up missed school days. At the moment, the answer is no. Upper School Dean of Students Mike Brunswick commented, “As long as I’ve been here, we’ve never made up school for snow days.”
There are very good reasons for this. Van Meter explained in his announcement, “ As an independent school, we do not need to comply with the 180-day state mandate for public schools. We have long believed that the quality and flexibility of our teachers enables us to rearrange things and get the material covered, even in a shorter time. However, we could conceivably miss a large enough number of days to consider an extension of the school year in June. We are not there yet, but a stormy March could change that.”
While there are currently no plans to extend the MFS school year, more cancellations could possibly force an extension for academic reasons. As always, we are at the weather’s mercy.
Cover photo by Medina Shah