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Last updated: Fri. Mar. 07, 2014 - 03:08 pm EDT

Local students adjust to extended school day

Districts asking employers to be flexible, lenient

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FORT WAYNE — Rachael Marks begins her day like most Carroll High School seniors, with morning classes.

In the afternoon, she leaves the high school and drives to Parkview Regional Medical Center for an internship.

Once finished there, she drives back into the city to Wendy’s on Dupont Road, where she serves customers late into the evening.

But for the next several weeks, Marks’ carefully crafted schedule will have to change as she copes with Northwest Allen County Schools’ decision to extend the school day to make up for time missed because of snow and ice.

While her bosses are willing to work around her schedule, other students might not be so lucky, Marks said.

“The good thing is they’ve been extremely understanding,” she said.

Today marks the end of the first week of extended days for Fort Wayne Community Schools and East Allen County Schools students. NACS students began extended days last week.

Southwest Allen County Schools students will be making up for missed time online.

Madie Eicher said she’s feeling the stress of a longer day.

The Snider High School junior is in two Advanced Placement classes, plays year-round soccer and works a part-time job at Mike’s Carwash on Maysville Road.

Usually, her busy schedule allows for some down time between school, work and soccer.

“Before, it wasn’t too bad,” Eicher said. “I had that 30-minute break to chill after school. Now I have to go straight to work. It’s just nonstop.”

Eicher said she’s also noticing how tired she is at the end of the day.

“I got up this morning and the first thing I did was get on Twitter and say ‘and another day of stress and exhaustion begins!’ ” she said. Eicher said that, fortunately, her boss at Mike’s Carwash understands her classes come first.

“Her job is so important to her. It’s teaching her those life lessons and skills that she can’t get from school,” said her mom, Amie Eicher. “She’s lucky that Mike’s is so good and so flexible.”

North Side High School senior Madison Del Vallee works after school at Wendy’s to save some money for after graduation.

“I have to get to work after school, and I need to be there on time,” De Vallee said. “I can’t be late just because school is longer.”

Although her boss seems to be understanding, other students might not be in that situation, she said.

FWCS Superintendent Wendy Robinson sent a letter to students’ employers, outlining the plan for make-up hours.

“I understand you rely on students as employees and that this extension of the school day will require an adjustment in their work schedules,” Robinson wrote. “I am asking you to please be flexible with these student employees as being in school must be the priority.”

Bill Marker, manager at Connolly’s Do it Best Hardware and retail store on West State Boulevard, said his employee schedule is also being affected.

Marker said he usually has two or three high school students who work evening or weekend shifts.

“We really do depend on these student workers,” Markers said. “When they can’t come in, it puts an extra burden on the adults who work here.”

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