Maine educators may want to pay attention to a program in New Hampshire that employs 'Blizzard Bags' as a way to cut down on the number of snow days that students need to make up each year.

The program originated in the Kearsarge Regional School District in New London, New Hampshire. The district is much like the one I grew up in, with students from multiple towns being bused for classes each day. Because so many of the students ride the school bus, snow days are often called to avoid the liability of possible accidents. When I was a kid, growing up in Brewer, they would call snow days for everyone except 'walkers.' If you lived close enough to the school to walk, you still had to go to class, while all your 'bus-kid' classmates stayed home. Not fair!

So, educators in New Hampshire came up with the 'Blizzard Bag' program, in which students can learn at home on snow days, and possibly avoid having to make the day up at the end of the year. According to the KRSD's website, teachers compile five of the Blizzard Bags each year. A 'bag' contains information online about lesson plans, and school work for the students to complete. They can access the lessons online or it's possible for them to take a physical bag of papers home, if they know in advance that it's going to storm.

If more than 80% of the students complete their work, the day is considered a school day, rather than a snow day. The kids used their time constructively and they won't have the 'make up day' in the spring. Teachers don't get the day off either, as they make themselves available online to help with lessons.

While the kids may not be happy about the idea of having to do school work on a snow day, they'll be happy in the Spring when classes end a few days earlier!

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