CPS Snow school

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COLUMBIA - Snow fall and school cancellations on Thursday kicked off the first day of Columbia's new Snow Day Club program. The program is hosted at three different school sites throughout the school district. Mill Creek Elementary Principal Mary Sue Gibson said the goal of the program is to help alleviate stress for parents.

"We know it's very difficult when parents wake up at 6 a.m. and find out there's no school and they have to be at work at 8 o'clock, you know, and they have no plans for their children," said Gibson.

One hundred-eighty students are signed up to attend the program at Mill Creek Elementary, West Boulevard and Derby Ridge. There are fifty students on the waitlist but there are no plans to expand the program this year.

Parent Linda Endersby dropped off her second grader and fourth grader at Mill Creek Elementary. She said her only option on snow days was "to call grandma" or take the day off work. She said she has responsibilities at work and taking the day off isn't always an option.

"Sometimes it's a real problem for me if I can't go in and work. So even though this is a shortened day, even having this little bit will be amazingly helpful," said Endersby.

Endersby's children got into the program, despite the waitlist.

"We knew the letters were coming in the Friday folders so we made a real effort to get them that Friday afternoon and turn them in that Friday afternoon," said Endersby.

Instructional Aide Cassandra Baxter led a group of second to fifth graders in various activities throughout the day.

Baxter and the other teacher aid were expecting thirty-one students in their group but only nine showed up. It was the program's first day so she thinks parents may have forgotten or were kept away by the weather. She said there may have been some miscommunication also and not all parents were notified that the program was going on.

Students spent time reading, practicing math, doing a science project and playing games in the gym.

"[These activites] get that brain moving on these snow days when they might have been sitting inside playing video games inside instead," said Baxter.

Parents with children enrolled in the program had to sign up for the Columbia Public School alert. Parents receive a text messages notifying them when the program happens.