On a snow day, I'm obliged to blog. As unusual as it is, I've been productive these past two days. When I'm productive, there isn't usually much news. Down in West End DC, the snow total amassed 4 inches, a respectable amount. In the northern suburbs of Fairfax County, VA and Montgomery County, MD, over 8 inches of snow blanket the ground. Get this- in parts of Mont. Co, the snow totalled two digits- 10.2 inches in moderately populated Damascus, and 11 inches in more rural Boyds, according to WTOP reports. Why do suburban snow totals matter? Because St. Anselm's follows the Mont. Co snow reports. Why?
There are several reasons. Mont. Co. is the lowest common denominator when it comes to snow. Back in the '90's, the County picked up a reputation of being the first to close. This snow-phobia has diminished somewhat: 3 inches of snow on farmland doesn't guarantee a day off- it didn't last season, and it didn't two weeks ago. The second reason is that a plurality of students come from Mont. Co, and adding students who live within walking distance of the county line would make a clear majority. A third reason is that DC the city rarely issues snow days: DC expects kids to trudge through snow to a Metrorail or major bus route, even when cars are snowed in on the sidestreets. At least half of St. Anselm's students rely on a car or SUV some part of their journey to and from school. Reason four is that the other schools in our league abide by MoCo's judgment. If your friends are out to play, then so will you! Then there's brand recognition and association. Mont. Co., as well as Fairfax, VA, do an excellent job in public school education; many schools in these counties rank top in the Nation. Mont. Co. Public Schools is the biggest absorber of students between 8th and 9th grade at St. A's. Reasons for making the leap range from "availability of females" to "my gosh they've got Smartboards in every classroom!". To my knowledge, DC Public Schools has not lured off any rising freshman in recent history.
One proposal that arises in the County is whether or not to split the County's schools into two snow districts, so that South County gentry from Bethesda and Chevy Chase (like my classmates) don't get a free ride whenever Sugarloaf Mountain gets a white coating. This suggestion is off the table, though, because enough students from Upcounty travel to Mid-and Down-county schools for advanced level curricula, lacrosse, etc., that a split system would be unfeasible.
It's my last year in the K-12 ed system, so I'm not concerned about this, but some keen, younger students are aware of "changing demographics". As DC the city becomes more cosmopolitan and attracts well-heeled families,the schools increase recruiting efforts in the rowhouse neighborhoods of Capitol Hill and West Georgetown. As a result, pushy parents from snow-light DC may get the schools to adhere to the DC school closing announcement,and call to an end the easy flow of snow days.