Blame it on a lack of computer last fall.
Snyder ISD Superintendent Eddie Bland said the district was forced to delay the start to the school year three weeks to Sept. 8 because they were waiting for Chromebooks to be delivered.
That’s why, he said, Snyder ISD students don’t get out of school until June 11. High school seniors graduate that night, gathering at 7 p.m. at Tiger Stadium.
It’s two weeks later than Abilene schools and three weeks behind some of the smaller districts that surround Snyder.
And the worst part about it, Bland said, is the computers did not arrive until spring break.
“So, delaying three weeks did us a lot of good,” he said, sarcastically.
The delay, he said, allowed the district to get in more instruction time. Some Snyder students just finished their State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) tests last week, while others are going to start this week.
Like third-grade math, fourth-grade reading. Fourth- and fifth-grade virtual students will take their tests starting June 8, with those tests lasting through June 10 when those virtual fifth-grade students take their science exams.
School’s out the next day, which Bland said is helpful.
As for the district, he said COVID-19 is hardly a factor anymore and he’s looking forward to a school year in August where protocols will be minimal.
They’ve already been without masks mandated since mid-April. Bland said the district waited about a month after Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order lifting restrictions before making the masks optional.
“It allowed every teacher who wanted to get the vaccine to get the vaccine before we lifted our mandate,” he said.
The district did, however, leave other protocols in place, he said. Like restricting outside access to the schools. Those will likely be lifted for the start of the 2021-22 school year.
Wylie West Junior High goes jousting
Ye ole court of King Arthur paid Wylie West Junior High students a visit last week as school came to a close.
Ann Hurst, an English language arts teacher at the school, asked her students to develop a research paper and an interactive display studying medieval Europe. They turned everything they created into a “museum-for-a-day.”
The students created games such as ring toss, offered food samples, explained popular clothing choices for the time and even offered weapons demonstrations.
Jousting, for instance, involved stick horses and pool noodles. Multiple groups created catapults, with one teaming with their bitter rivals — a group studying the history of castles — for a real-life siege.
Well, they made a catapult out of PVC pipe and launched a marble at the other group’s cardboard castle to see if they could penetrate defenses.
Lizzy Thorup was in the group of castle enthusiasts, while Ashtyn Kershner tried to break it down.
“It’s kinda sad,” Lizzy, 12, said watching the marble crash into her castle she spent several hours building. “I know this is how they felt (back then) when they were really fighting. The walls of some castles were 30-feet thick and still the cannonballs made it through.”
While those two groups entertained with hands-on, Steven Cowling’s group asked visitors to speed-build their own catapult out of tongue depressors, rubber bands and a plastic spoon.
The fastest? He said someone made their weapon in 46 seconds.
Novileh Louis and Jolea Ward, both 13, at a booth directly next to Steven’s, did their project on something far more deadly at the time than catapults: The Black Death.
Novilea and Jolea brought with them a plague doctor’s mask to showcase and said they learned some interesting tidbits researching the bacterial infection. Like how the nursery rhyme “Ring Around the Rosy” came from the Black Death, they said.
It was, they said, a perfect way to close out the school year, which ended Thursday.
Much delayed acknowledgement
My apologies to Emily Muehlstein, a student at Stamford High School.
Earlier this year, her father, Curt, sent me a photograph after she was named grand champion barrow at the San Antonio Livestock Show in March.
I fully intended to include her success in an Education Notebook at the time but for some reason, it never ran. (It’s because I forgot.)
Well, after much delay, congratulations to the Muehlstein family on a great performance way back when. This school year has been so weird that March both feels like a lifetime ago and like last week.
Everybody enjoy your summer … if you get to take one.
Timothy Chipp covers education and is general assignments reporter for the Abilene Reporter-News. If you appreciate locally driven news, you can support local journalists with a digital subscription to ReporterNews.com.