Dunn Announces New School Closure Policy


Alexis Bolandhemat 

Staff Writer

[caption id="attachment_3736" align="alignnone" width="300"]An aerial view of Chicago on the first school closure of the semester. Photo: Hedy Gutfreund An aerial view of Chicago on the first school closure of the semester. Photo: Hedy Gutfreund[/caption]

While this school year marks a hundred and twenty five years of tradition, it also signals a new approach to handling school closures. As announced at the beginning of the month, Latin will no longer be following Chicago Public Schools in regards to closing its facilities.

Latin has gone by CPS’s decisions for over a decade. When asked why Latin first adopted CPS policy, Mr. Dunn responded, “One of the reasons was a communications issue. CPS closings have always been widely broadcasted, so going along with CPS was the most efficient way for Latin to communicate closings.” However, Latin has become much more communication savvy over the years. With emails, automated phone calls, and announcements on Romannet, Facebook, and Twitter, it’s nearly impossible to miss the memo on Latin closing its facilities. The administration no longer relies on CPS to convey the message to the Latin community, giving them the freedom to veer off CPS’s decisions and make choices that best reflect our community’s needs.

Since the start of second semester, Latin has seen three closings due to the extreme cold. These days have given students extra time to relax but have also taken away over twenty hours of instruction in the process. While Latin is an independent school, it is still recognized by the state. This means that Latin uses the same number of instruction hours as public schools to meet state guidelines. We are currently scheduled to meet these guidelines, but Mr. Dunn noted, “If we were to have another day or two unexpectedly off, we would have to think about how to make up some of that time. We need to make sure that teachers have enough time to comfortably get through their lessons.” This opens up the possibility of holding classes on days that students would have otherwise had off in order to maximize our curriculum. However, weather-related days off might take a different shape as Latin adapts to new forms of technology. Looking towards the future, Mr. Dunn thinks we can incorporate new aspects of Romannet and online work in general into unexpected days off, saying, “A number of schools have come up with ways in which kids can learn from home. This is a situation where I think schools with the appropriate technology and training will have the opportunity to assign work and engage with students during the day. Potentially, it could actually be counted as a day of school. As we start doing things like flipped classrooms, where kids can learn material at home and practice with teachers at school, it makes the notion of kids working and learning at home much easier to accomplish. Pretty soon, snow days will no longer be like the one’s we are currently used to. We’re thinking about how Latin might utilize such an online system.” This type of system would benefit classes that have end of the year cumulative exams by assuring that all the needed materials are taught at a steady pace prior to the test date. Latin is a rigorous school that constantly evolves in order to best serve its community, in this case, by making sure its students receive an apt amount of enrichment.]]>