Even though the River Bend School District and the Camanche School District are a mere 10 miles apart, many administrative differences separate the two and as Parker said “sometimes that river is a little wider than you think.”
While Illinois enacts the Act of God days, Iowa does not institute such a policy and any day that is missed due to weather, health emergency or any other situation hazardous to student attendance, must be made up at the end of the school year.
“In Iowa, a school year has to be 180 days of direct interaction with a student,” Parker said. “If you cancel a day, you have to make up that day no matter what.”
And as enjoyable as those missed school days may be to some students, the disruption to the scheduled routine causes additional stress to the school administration and staff, and can hinder the learning process of the students.
According to Parker, students tend to have more focus during the middle portion of the school year and because of added distractions and anticipation for summer vacation, rescheduling days at the end of the year can often hinder a students’ desire to learn.
But, knowing your environment is just one of the things a superintendent comes to understand when leading a school district and adapting to the conditions is a lesson learned in time.
“It does disrupt the general flow of the routine you get into day in and day out and we’re always concerned with the academic routine,” Parker said. “We’d like to be able to run our school calendar as planned. But, once again, living in Iowa you’re going to have to deal with snow days.”