Scott: Lots of kids used to get excited about snow days. It meant no school, right? Well, for school systems, all those days add up and have to be made up somehow. And Maggie Rulli shows us what some schools have come up with to do just that.
Maggie: How would you like to have your winter break cancelled like they did in Massachusetts?
Student: I’d like to be sleeping, but it’s okay.
Maggie: Or instead of having your school cancelled for snow, you take classes from home.
Pontillo: From eight o’clock to three o’clock, I’ve been at my laptop doing all my work.
Maggie: After record-breaking cold and snow forced many schools to shut down for days on end, administrators are getting creative in order to make up those missed days. That way, students won’t have to go to school in the summer.
Robert Bell: We’d actually surveyed staff and talked to the seniors about what’s the best option and also surveyed the community.
Maggie: Robert Bell is the superintendent in North Daviess Indiana where they decided that for the next month students will spend an extra hour every day in class, staying in school until 4:05 PM. In New Jersey, some schools are looking at having students come in on Saturdays.
Most schools in snowy regions have make-up snow days already built into the schedule. But with this year’s record-breaking storms, many schools had to close beyond those snow days.
According to federal law, all schools must have 180 days of classes. So anytime a school day is missed, it has to be made up, meaning that snow day in January ends up being an extra day of school come summer. Many are also worried that fewer school days now means there will be less class time to prep for important and mandatory tests in the spring.
School administrator: We lost over 3,500 minutes of instruction at the elementary, and we felt it important to get some of that instructional time back before we started the high-stake testing.
Maggie: Those students in Indiana are using their extra hour of school to prepare specifically for their middle school state exams. But in South Carolina, administrators and parents are talking to lawmakers about moving the dates of their state exams so that students are given extra class time to prepare.
Carrie Rookard: When we see storms of this size, sometimes I think some of that could be forgiven.
Maggie: With the threat of failed state exams and a shorter summer break, many districts feel pressured to have school no matter the weather. In Oklahoma, having school remain open during a recent snowstorm in Tulsa meant that two-thirds of students simply didn’t show up that day. When schools remained open during last month’s ice storm in Atlanta, lawmakers were accused of endangering the lives of students.
Right now there is no federal solution for how to handle snow days. In the meantime, as much as students love a snow day, most are focused on keeping their summer breaks.
Student: Because it’s summer and it’s just fun.
Maggie: Maggie Rulli, Channel One News.