Not all “snow days” are created equal. Public-school memories of snow days include an eager anticipation that began the night or even days before. How much snow will we get, and will it be enough for the superintendent to call off school? In the 70s and 80s, school was rarely canceled the night before, so students awoke earlier than usual and turned on the radio to learn their fate. If school was canceled, plans for sledding began but with a mix of fear that shoveling would be required. At Shaker Road School, the likelihood of a day off for snow may only be realized once in a K-8 generation of students.
So why does SRS remain open when most other schools close? Like most things at SRS, it goes back to the founding. The school was established as a child care center designed to serve the hard-working families of the greater Concord area. In the early 80s when SRS was quickly growing, most people went to work regardless of the road conditions. Though things have changed with remote working options and a strange new perspective of winter in New Hampshire, Shaker continues to be open most days when other schools close. After all, many of our families cannot take a day off from work, especially last minute. Doctors still see patients, businesses still serve their customers, and many would rather save their vacation days for the warmer summer months. At SRS, veteran students will tell you these snowy are some of the best.
On this snowy day, Second Grade students collaborated to create a restaurant with no idea they were practicing math and communication skills. Kindergarten students excitedly discussed snowstorms as part of their weather lesson in morning meeting and held out hope for extra sledding time at recess. Elementary teachers gathered early to create a unique schedule combining team-building and recreation. Middle School students were given latitude to plan much of their day. Some worked on talent show projects, others caught up on work, and Student Government Officers insisted on making hot chocolate for the entire school.
Before a snowstorm arrives, parents and students often ask if it will be a “regular” school day when the snow finally hits. Implied in that question is “will academic classes be taught” and “will my child have to make up any work”? To us, despite not being a typical day, academic lessons assume a different form, and plenty of learning occurs on snow days. Importantly, especially after the last two years, it is also okay to have fun and appreciate the beauty of a New Hampshire winter. When students arrive on these days, in addition to their typical school gear, they also bring a variety of fancy sleds. Even from a young age, they know that their “snow days” are special.
For Shaker Road School students and their teachers who also come to school on these days, snowy days are likely more memorable than a “regular” school day. One Second Grade student said it perfectly when she exclaimed, “This was the best day ever!”