AIMS questions Cyber Days’ legitimacy


Patriot Files

AIMS recently questioned the legitimacy and effectiveness of Cyber Days, which require students to do schoolwork on days when inclement weather has closed schools. Administrators have decided to continue with Cyber Days, but are also adding three snow days to the calendar next year.

The legitimacy of Cyber Days was recently a topic of discussion at the Association of Independent Maryland Schools (AIMS) meeting on April 19. JC is a part of this association.

“‘We needed clarification, so we sent a request for information from AIMS,” Vice Principal of Academics Gary Scholl said. “AIMS is supportive [of Cyber Days].”

The Maryland State Department of Education requires special permission for distance learning, and there was some confusion about whether or not Cyber Days were considered distance learning.

Since many private schools in AIMS use Cyber Days, Principal Madelyn Ball felt that the school’s program was justified. “We felt like we could not be justly advised by the state because it’s impossible to have our online programs,” Principal Madelyn Ball said.

JC has been using Cyber Days for the past three years. However, recent examination of state laws on education led to controversy on how to counteract if the state disputed the legitimacy. Two schools associated with AIMS, who remain anonymous, have already told the State Department they won’t make up snow days, according to Ball.

The issue with Cyber Days is the effectiveness of the educational material. The administration recognizes they are less effective but believe they are effective nonetheless. “The whole notion of effectiveness, it’s not as effective as classroom instruction, but I believe it’s a suitable replacement,” Scholl said.

Ball believes that the state can’t tell private schools Cyber Days are illegitimate school days because the public school system education is impossible to compare to the private schools. According to her, the test scores, college and universities students attend, and graduation rates can attest to the quality of the private school education.

Students believe that the education is not as effective, but they are happy to not extend the school year. “The only thing they help is getting out of school earlier. It’s hard to teach yourself everything,” junior Taylor Crews said.

Another concern for students is when Cyber Days occur for consecutive days.

“What I feel doesn’t work for Cyber Days is when they’re back to back,” sophomore Paul Diehl said. “Teachers can’t teach new material so they just give you the same thing from the previous day to practice. Or they give you new stuff you have to self-teach, which can be difficult in certain subjects.”

The school has no intentions to abandon Cyber Days. However, next year they are building three extra designated snow days into the calendar.

“I don’t think any regulations on the issue of Cyber Days have been violated, but it’s miscommunications on what classifies as distance learning,” Scholl said. “We will keep having Cyber Days, but we will also plan for more built-in snow days in the calendar.”

Kishan Patel is the Online Editor in Chief of The Patriot and