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Trying to find lost days on school calendar

CORNWALL — School may have been closed for the week following the Oct. 29 storm, but Cornwall Consolidated School remained a busy place.The entire town was without power at one point — the majority was out for days. The last restoration was reportedly at about noon on Nov. 4. The school shelter, running on generator power, was open from Saturday night through Friday morning. Cold and the lack of water and cooking capability brought as many as a dozen people to seek shelter overnight, and up to two dozen for hot lunches. About 12 volunteers helped out. School board members made note of a report that the extra shower in the gymnasium was very helpful. It was a subject of much debate while the school renovation project was being discussed.Going forward, a plan is forming to make up those snow days. The first day of school was also missed, due to Tropical Storm Irene, putting the school year six days behind before winter even arrived.Region One principals have come up with some ideas. A popular suggestion is to retrieve two days by eliminating professional development days (teachers’ workshops) on Feb. 17 and 21. Those days bracketed the long weekend that included Presidents Day on Feb. 20, which would remain a day off for students and teachers. Another day could be found by moving another professional development day to the end of the school year. A second suggestion is to make Feb. 17 and 21 half-days of school, with teachers meeting in workshops in the afternoon.By Feb. 15, the situation will be reassessed to determine if more days should be sought before June. The plan is to begin taking them away from the end of the April vacation week, which includes Good Friday, April 6. Days to be potentially returned to the school calendar will begin with April 13 and work backward as needed. With the inclusion of the two professional development days, the last day of school is currently June17. By state law, the school year must be at least 180 days long and be completed by June 30, which falls on a Saturday in 2012, making June 29 the deadline.Among the constraints in making adjustments to the school year is the contractual need to have three professional development days. School can be held on Saturdays, but only with a special exemption from the governor. Holidays in December and January cannot be touched.The matter was to be discussed by the Region One school board with input from local boards.

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