Technology, schedule changes help schools recover lost days - WNCN: News, Weather

Schools tweak strategies for weather days

Posted: Updated:
Students board a school bus during snowy weather. (Source: Thomas Boyd/The Oregonian/MGN) Students board a school bus during snowy weather. (Source: Thomas Boyd/The Oregonian/MGN)

(RNN) - Spring break looked different for several elementary and high school students around the country thanks to a nasty weather pattern that swept through months ago.

The frigid winter brought an unusually high number of canceled days - even those in states where snow is more prevalent - and is now taking a toll on normal vacation time, weekends and summer break.

According to Dan Domenech, executive director of the American Association of School Administrators, at least five states have dealt with this problem through e-learning.

The process allows teachers to upload work online and have students view it with a connected device at home.

Schools in Ohio, Illinois, West Virginia, Indiana and Pennsylvania are already on board. Though it is important to note use of this technology is left up to school districts or individual schools, not mandated by states.

Domenech acknowledged the gap between those schools and ones in other areas, particularly those where a large number of students come from low-income homes.

"In other states that's an issue, but an issue that's disappearing very quickly," Domenech said. "Everybody has a cell phone, a handheld device, some sort of device that can be used to do this. In communities that are on a lower income scale, districts are beginning to provide for that."

Closing this gap is the priority of ConnectED, the White House's initiative to connect 99 percent of U.S. schools digitally within the next five years.

Part of that plan is to build on programs that already exist to invest in broadband infrastructure for rural areas.

Until then, future bouts of unpredictable weather will likely produce a similar hodgepodge of solutions for making up lost days.

It is usually left up to each administration how it wants to recoup that lost time, and in most cases they are legally required to hold a certain number of educational days each school year.

Catoosa County Public Schools in Georgia, for example, decided to add 20 minutes to each school day until the end of the year. Students start five minutes earlier and dismiss 15 minutes later.

"I know families have vacations planned for spring break and Memorial Day," Superintendent Denia Reese said in a letter to parents. "I believe adding 20 minutes each day is better for families, and for student achievement, than using spring break or adding days at the end of the year."

Not every administration used that school of thought, especially those that burned all their weather days in early January.

"There is no shortage of examples and models out there of what districts can do," Domenech said. "There are districts right now that are off on spring break that have to extend the school year. It varies state by state depending on what each state allows.

"There are states that after a certain number of days allow for forgiveness where you don't have to make those days up. For instance, like Virginia or Maryland, they have provisions that say if they lost more than 10 days they don't have to make those days up."

Copyright 2014 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

  • Extreme weatherMore>>

  • Bad weather shuts down concerts, delays flights

    Bad weather shuts down concerts, delays flights

    Monday, September 1 2014 2:00 AM EDT2014-09-01 06:00:48 GMT
    Severe thunderstorms across the Northeast have slowed operations at airports, wreaked havoc at outdoor sporting and musical events and sent people scurrying from a beach in New York after three men there were...
    Severe thunderstorms across the Northeast on Sunday slowed operations at airports, wreaked havoc at outdoor sporting and musical events in New York and Philadelphia and sent people scurrying from a beach after three men...
  • Northern California wildfires show slower growth

    Northern California wildfires show slower growth

    Monday, September 1 2014 12:00 AM EDT2014-09-01 04:00:58 GMT
    The U.S. Forest Service says a pair of wildfires sparked by lightning nearly three weeks ago continues to grow while threatening as many as 250 homes in far Northern California.
    The U.S. Forest Service says cloudy skies and lower temperatures have slowed the spread of two forest wildfires that are threatening as many as 250 homes in far Northern California.
  • Aftershocks follow 5.1 Alaska earthquake

    Aftershocks follow 5.1 Alaska earthquake

    Sunday, August 31 2014 8:10 PM EDT2014-09-01 00:10:14 GMT
    The Alaska Earthquake Center says a magnitude 5.1 earthquake hit 43 miles northwest of Fairbanks on Saturday night.
    Aftershocks continue to rattle interior Alaska after a 5.1-magnitude earthquake Saturday night.
Powered by WorldNow

1205 Front St., Raleigh
N.C., 27609

Telephone: 919.836.1717
Fax: 919.836.1687
Email: newstips@wncn.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.