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The Milton Measure

Snow Days at Milton

by on Friday, February 7th, 2014

The weather this winter has already caused two snow days, with a potential third this coming Monday. A new study conducted by Professor Joshua Goodman of Harvard Kennedy School suggested that, despite the classroom time lost, snow days do not negatively impact, and perhaps even benefit, students’ learning and their academic performance. Though Milton Academy has not collected any data to support or negate this theory, Milton students and teachers both agree and disagree with Professor Goodman.

Academic Dean Ms. Bonenfant said, “Milton students and teachers are tremendously busy, and they have little time to just slow down, so I love snow days, because they allow for some breathing room in an otherwise very tightly scheduled existence. Snow days are days that we can use to catch up on schoolwork — after shoveling, of course. And if there’s time to read for pleasure, or play a game, or do some cooking, then all the better. After the gift of a snow day, I hope that students feel slightly recharged and ready to return to school… I can imagine that snow days have a positive impact on students’ performance.”

Charlie Barrett (II) agreed that snow days provide a much-needed break. He said, “I feel like at Milton, you’re almost always, always doing something. Even on the weekends, either I have some school related event plan, or something I have to do or even something I want to do, but I don’t have a lot of time to totally relax. Snow days give me my desperately needed ‘do nothing days.’”

Alexander Mann (I) said, “[Snow days] provide a nice opportunity to catch up on any sleep or work that you might have gotten behind on, or even to get further ahead.” Charlie Janeway (I) agreed, stating, “The sleep, included with the time for snow football and catching up on work, helps me approach the following days with energy and preparedness I wouldn’t have had without the snow day.”

Students also said that snow days helped to manage stress. Hannah Nigro (III) said, “[Snow days] are a nice time to just relax and let out all the stress that builds up from school.” Juliana Rogoff (III) added that snow days allow her time to “review and do things I’ve been confused about for a while but haven’t had the time to deal with.”

On the other hand, many people in the Milton community believe that snow days are not beneficial. History teacher and Wolcott House Head Mr. Emmott noted, “For boarders I do not think that snow days have a positive impact. Anecdotally, I think the impact is negative for the following reasons: boys treat a snow day like the weekend and do not get caught up on work; students stay up late and mess up their sleep cycle; any time the routine of classes is disrupted, for some students it is hard to get back into the flow of classes.”

Ravi Rahman (III) had similar opinions. He said, “It depends on the situation — when I have lots of work to get done — which is usually the case — then snow days help as I can get the work done at a better quality. However, like in AP Latin where the syllabus is fixed day-by-day through May, we don’t have any flexibility, and any missed school just makes us rush, and thus hurts performance.”

Members of the community were conflicted with whether snow days are beneficial or detrimental during exam week. Mathematics Department Chair Heather Sugrue said, “I think snow days are very hard during exam week — if students are organized, then they have planned out their studying time for the week based on their exam schedule, a shift or delay can be quite challenging.” On the other hand, Alex Mann (I) said, “Certainly during exam week the extra time only benefited my preparation.”

Ms. Sugrue added, “In general, snow days seem fine to me. Students get put in untenable positions [when they] get an email from a teacher asking them to do additional homework or something that wasn’t already on the syllabus. That part never seems quite right to me. We need to embrace [snow days]… for what they are, go sledding, and build snowmen.”

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Posted by on Feb 7 2014. Filed under News, Recent News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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