Students were ready!
Blizzard Bags. For Worthington, they worked this week like taking an umbrella. Staff was ready. Students were ready. Families were ready. Then, for what seemed like the first time this year, Old Man Winter went easy on us! Yea!! It actually looks like we will have another full week of school… Two weeks in a row!
In school is exactly where we want to be. Consistency of instruction and learning is important for our students. However, every now and then, circumstances beyond our control require the cancellation of school… for days… again and again. School officials are left to make decisions about make-up days and alternate learning options. Last week, Worthington Schools moved forward with both of those decisions including scheduling school days for April 18 and May 30 as well as implementing “Blizzard Bags” in the event of another school cancellation.
“Blizzard Bags” are alternate learning assignments. Maybe sent home in a bag… maybe not. In this digital age, many blizzard bag assignments are online. Blizzard bags have received a lot of media attention this winter because of the extensive number of school cancellations. One would think that this is a very new concept, but it’s not.
If you are over 40, you probably remember the energy crisis well. My childhood memories of the energy crisis include my father closing off a portion of our house with plastic sheeting and the open (heated) part was still very cold as we did all we could to conserve energy in our home. These memories also include completing school assignments at home… “Blizzard bags” if you will. Gas shortages during the winter of 1977 required school districts to make very difficult decisions and get creative in providing continued learning outside of schools. My parents received this memo from Worthington City Schools informing them of the “Emergency Learning Plan” that had students attending school for 1/2 day per week (for me, in the Thomas Worthington HS auditorium) and completing assigned work at home between class sessions. We remember this winter as the year we had “school without schools.”
Ideal, no. We WANT our students at school learning in person from those who are best equipped to provide them with the instruction, feedback, support, and guidance that will maximize their learning. However, thoughtful planning and support from families can make “blizzard bag” assignments great learning experiences and, from some of the creativity I have seen, quite exciting!
As students entered school on Monday, some were disappointed that they didn’t get this very new (but really quite old) learning opportunity. We, on the other hand, were elated to have them here – in person!! We’re all hopeful that our blizzard bag preparation is all it took to end the madness and keep us in school for the duration. Old Man Winter, we’re ready for you! You can’t stop learning in our Fine, Fine School in this Fine, Fine School district! Think spring everyone!