Districts plan Pulaski Day as polar vortex makeup

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Districts plan Pulaski Day as polar vortex makeup

February 18, 2019 - 11:59
Homewood and Flossmoor students will forfeit the March 4 Casimir Pulaski Day holiday so the districts can get to the required 176 days on the school calendar.
To make up for recent snow days, local students will attend school in March 4, the official Illinois holiday recognizing Casimir Pulaski, who served as a judge in the Continental Army.
  To make up for recent
  snow days, local
  students will attend
  school on March 4, the
  official Illinois holiday
  recognizing Casimir
  Pulaski, a general who
  served in the U.S.
  Continental Army.


While students will learn of the heroism of Pulaski, this year it won’t mean a day off.

Pulaski Day has been a legal holiday in Illinois since 1977. In 1929, Congress officially recognized Oct. 11 as General Pulaski Memorial Day in recognition of his bravery during the Revolutionary War. 
Pulaski was recruited in 1777 by Benjamin Franklin and Marquis de Lafayette to join the Continental Army. He became a general in the cavalry and is generally regarded as the “father of the American Cavalry.” His unit was recognized as the Pulaski Cavalry Legion. In the Siege of Savannah in 1779, Pulaski was mortally wounded.

The Homewood District 153 board at its Feb. 4 meeting and the Flossmoor District 161 board adjusted its calendar Feb. 12, and also added June 7 to the school year. That day, and March 4, will make up for the two days the districts closed Jan. 30 and 31 because of the severe drop in temperature due to the polar vortex.


Homewood-Flossmoor High School will continue with the calendar as originally adopted. Students will observe the Pulaski Day holiday.


“We already have several days over the state requirement in our schedule so at this point we do not have to make up any school days,” explained Jodi Bryant, director of human resources and public relations. 


The change means District 153’s last day will be June 7. In District 161, the last school day will be June 10. At H-F, May 30 is the last school day.


District 153 Superintendent Dale Mitchell applauded the school’s staff for their efforts the week of Jan. 28 in keeping students safe. Staff came in about 45 minutes early so school buildings could be open to accommodate working parents who dropped students off before the regular school day. He said between 30 and 60 kids were dropped off at the buildings, rather than coming by bus.


He also thanked Kickert Bus company for keeping buses on time and the care drivers gave students, and he gave a special salute to maintenance staff members Kevin Keane and Paul Klimczak who checked the buildings to make certain all systems were operational.


Staffs in District 153 and 161 are looking to the future for ways the districts can count emergency days away from school as learning days. Under a new state law, districts expect to be able to provide students with e-learning opportunities from home. That work could count as a school day on the calendar.


Mitchell said he will work with teachers over the summer months to set guidelines on how e-learning days would be worked into a school setting.