Finley and Columbia school districts shifted graduation a week later to June 9 after losing more than a week of classes to snow days.
Mid-Columbia school districts are grappling with rescheduling their graduations after an unusual series of storms this winter.
Richland, Kennewick and Pasco decided to keep their graduations on the same day after requests from parents and students. And those districts are working on how to add extra instructional days for seniors to meet state requirements.
But Finley’s Superintendent Lance Hahn and Columbia Superintendent Lou Gates said board members didn’t want the seniors to lose time they could spend learning.
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So far, classes were canceled eight days in Finley and Burbank because of bad weather.
Gov. Jay Inslee signed a pair of declarations of emergency to trigger a state law allowing districts to apply for a waiver to the requirement that students attend 180 days of school each year. As part of the waiver, students must spend until June 14 in class and make up at least three of the lost days.
If you bring the seniors back after they graduate, there isn’t much that you’re going to get out of them. The instructional hours were more important than just being in compliance.
Finley Superintendent Lance Hahn
Seniors can make up the three days in June or some other time before graduation.
“If you bring the seniors back after they graduate, there isn’t much that you’re going to get out of them,” Hahn said. “The instructional hours were more important than just being in compliance.”
Along with having Finley’s 83 seniors return for a full week, the district canceled scheduled early releases on Wednesdays to meet the state requirement that the teachers provide an average of 1,027 hours of instructional time.
In Burbank, a main concern from Columbia School Board members is the district’s 65 seniors wouldn’t meet their graduation requirements before June 2, Gates said.
“We want all of our students in our school family to graduate,” Gates said. “It was a thoughtful decision. It does give a little more help to those students who need a little more time.”
We want all of our students in our school family to graduate. It was a thoughtful decision. It does give a little more help to those students who need a little more time.
Columbia Superintendent Lou Gates
In Richland, school administrators are working to schedule events for its 1,100 seniors on three Saturdays in April. The activities range from B Reactor tours to advanced placement test preparation day.
Kennewick board members also agreed to bring the 1,319 seniors back for activities on three Saturdays. This week, administrators were discussing options for activities or lessons on those days.
While Pasco’s 1,000 seniors are going to graduate the weekend of June 1-3, administrators haven’t decided how seniors will make up their three days.
Kiona-Benton City School District has yet to decide if it will move its graduation date.