Staying BOLD

The Cannon Falls High School, after a series of winter weather events, used Bomber Online Learning Days to continue their learning.


Nathan Baszuro

Many school days were cancelled due to the numerous snow storms.

Minnesota is notorious for cold, snowy winters. For the Cannon Falls School district, if bad weather stops students from coming to school, the staff sets up a BOLD day. The school is allowed two snow days, but once those are used up, every other snow day must be a BOLD day.

BOLD stands for Bomber Online Learning Day. On these days, students and teachers use their one-on-one devices to communicate through Gmail, Schoology, and other online resources and get assignments done. Some students also use Zoom or Google Meets to talk with teachers or paraprofessionals to help them get caught up and answer any questions. 

Tim Hodges, the principal at CFHS expanded on BOLD days: “Five or six years ago, the district allowed schools to have days to learn online. COVID played a big part in this change. This year, we have had a lot of BOLD days already. March is the month that typically gets the most snow out of the year. We used up our 2 snow days right away this winter.”  For snow days, the kids do not have any school, they can just have a free day.

Mr. Hodges also mentioned what he personally thought about this method: “It gives us flexibility if we have bad weather. It is helpful not to need to make up days in the summer.”

Jan Holt is one of the many paraprofessionals — or paras for short — in the school. Paras assist the students in getting their work done and can help with questions when the teachers aren’t available. According to Jan, the hardest part of BOLD days is not being able to do hands-on activities: “Communication is a little different with a computer.” Jan’s personal favorite thing about BOLD days is not having to drive to school in bad weather. She only needs to drive five minutes, but it could take longer if the roads are bad. 

BOLD days can look a little different in elementary school. Everyone in high school or middle school takes their Chromebooks home, but not in elementary school. Mr. Hodges, and lots of other teachers, believe that elementary students are more likely to get distracted and not use them for school.

Even though online learning days are very helpful to teachers and students, not everyone is on board with it. Some parents and teachers question if the activities that the students are assigned are actually helpful, or if they are just busy work. Some people believe that the assignments that teachers are giving do not actually help the children. They believe that the teachers are just trying to pass the time, and the children are not learning as much as they should be. Nobody wants an assignment that takes an hour or more. 

In mid January, the school was very close to using up all their allotted BOLD days. The  Cannon Falls School Board decided there could be as many BOLD days as they needed for the rest of the school year. At the beginning of winter, the district only allowed five BOLD days all year, but after using most of them by December, the district expanded how many were allowed. In total, the high school used six online learning days this winter.  Thanks to BOLD days, the students can keep learning even when Minnesota weather tries to stop them.