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The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

Icy setbacks: Snow days impact students’ education

Connor+Schutte+stands+tall+next+to+a+snow+man+he+built+with+friends.
Spencer Johnson
Connor Schutte stands tall next to a snow man he built with friends.

As temperatures hit record lows and snow continues to fall, Pleasant Valley has dealt with numerous cancellations leaving students in a time crunch to finish out the school year.

With an average of 15.4 inches of snowfall and wind gusts ranging from 30-50 MPH, snowdrifts have caused many accidents and lengthy traffic delays. Additionally, windchill temperatures have reached as low as -30 degrees, freezing any unsalted roads. Jan 6-12 went on record as the snowiest week in the Quad Cities.

Pleasant Valley is not alone in deeming it unsafe for students to travel. Throughout the Quad Cities, school districts have faced an alarming amount of cancellations due to blizzard like conditions.

For Pleasant Valley students, these snow days happened to fall in the middle of finals, creating difficulties studying for a test with a seemingly ever changing date. 

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Senior Connor Schutte saw these challenges arise in his own schedule. “I would study all night only to find out I had another week until the actual test. It felt like a waste of time preparing that far in advance,” he said. 

These snow day procedures not only postponed semester finals but reduced the amount of time teachers have to prepare their students for AP exams come early May. Having already missed Jan. 11 and 12, followed by two late starts exactly one week later, student’s chances of passing this college level exam saw a setback.

Many teachers took it upon themselves to bridge this gap. Seeing the increased pressure in his own classroom, AP Macroeconomics teacher Philip George adapted to fit the required material in the given days.

“The AP Macro class test is on May 10 no matter what, meaning I have to cover the whole curriculum before then. I had to make some adjustments to cut out the material I knew would be not quite as valuable in preparation of the AP exam,” he said.

George is one of many AP teachers who feels the impact of missing school is detrimental to student’s likelihood of passing the exam. “Every student has the opportunity, if they score well on the AP test, to earn college credit, so I didn’t like the idea that it extended this already stressful time period for students,” he continued.

AP tests provide students with the potential to save both tremendous amounts of time and money in college. However, many students are fearful of seeing the opportunity fade away. 

Schutte, an AP Environmental Science student, reflected on this possibility. “These test credits would get me a big jump start on some basic environmental science classes that I could maybe move past in order to get to a higher level or more major specific ones. It matters to me specifically because I want to do this in college,” he explained.

As students eagerly anticipated their return to the classroom, the snow provided a unique opportunity to pass the time.

Schutte spontaneously decided to spend his days out in the snow. “On my days off I built a snowman and played football outside with my friends,” he said, reminding his fellow students to stop and enjoy this once in a lifetime snowfall.

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About the Contributor
Spencer Johnson, Sports Editor, Student Life Editor
Spencer Johnson is a senior at Pleasant Valley High School and serves as the Sports and Student Life Editor for the Spartan Shield. He enjoys math and economics classes, and plans on majoring in Business Economics next fall at Iowa State University. Spencer plays trumpet for both PVHS and his Church, St. John Vianney. In his free time, he loves watching sports, movies and hanging out with his friends. Spencer is also an Eagle Scout who enjoys camping and being outdoors. He is very excited to finish out his senior year and write with the journalism team!

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    Nick PuthoffFeb 25, 2024 at 11:36 am

    I would have to agree with this, a lot of kids like snow days because it’s a day off of school but many don’t see the setbacks and problems they cause for other students. Especially for the snow days we have near the finals, everyone is studying for ther finals the night before just to find they won’t be having the finals the next day as Connor said it feels like a waist of time to put that much work in just to not take the final when you expected to.

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  • S

    Suleman ChaudhryFeb 11, 2024 at 11:13 am

    Spencer, I wish that more teachers did what Mr. George did. Cutting out material that is not necessarily very valuable to the key concepts of the unit. In some of my classes it felt as if teachers just crammed everything in, resulting in a lackluster understanding of everything, including the key concepts. It would be nice to be focused on key concepts vs stuff that is not key.

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  • S

    Steven LyFeb 7, 2024 at 11:14 am

    I think this article gave me a new points of view of the snow days. Many including myself see these days as rest day also extra days to study. I disagree about Connor’s point of view I think having those extra days to prepare for a test is pretty crucial and useful. I also understand now from Mr. George point of view that these snow days can actually make students lives harder. As some classes some students have to cram in more information in a shorter period of time.

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