PE Adds Days To School Year

Published 2:03 pm Tuesday, March 18, 2014

PRINCE EDWARD — More snow days mean more missed time from school. But could the piling up days eventually span into spring break or Memorial Day?

School board members were presented a revised makeup schedule at their March 5 meeting that doesn’t tap into those days.

“…We are relying on some additional scheduled instructional time, otherwise known as bank time, for three of those days, but we are, if we use that for…all seven of the last days, it’s gonna push us to the point that we don’t have any more flexibility. And, even a delayed opening or an early dismissal would cause a problem with calculation of the required time that we have to verify to the Department of Ed,” Division Superintendent Dr. David Smith informed the board.

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Dr. Smith recommended adding June 4 and 5, though they had not been planned in the school calendar for make-up days.

“And those two days make a difference because we’re in that category in makeup where each day that we make up counts for two that are missed,” he said. “So we can pick up four days for those two days. And then, we still rely on three days of that additional scheduled time, knowing that there can still be some hopefully minor implications…for weather events through the spring,” Dr. Smith said.

School divisions are required to make up the first five days missed, beyond that figure, however, State Code allows school divisions to make up one day for each day missed and longer school days for the balance. School divisions must still verify a minimum of 990 hours of instruction. If they can’t the school board would have to request a waiver from the state’s Department of Education.

“There are a couple of alternatives, neither of which are really good ones. One is to take Memorial Day, the other is to take two days out of the spring break, but this may be the less disruptive in terms of plans that are already made—thinking of families and travel plans,” Dr. Smith said.

The superintendent added that he has talked with the Director of Accountability and Instruction Dr. Roy Echeverria about shifting the SOL testing to later in the test window so the testing and makeup time goes to the end—even counting the two additional days.

“So…that allows us to recapture some of the lost instructional time before the tests take place,” Dr. Smith said.

Adding the two days means the school division would use three days of banked time and give them flexibility and not have to add more time.

“It only uses part of the banked time and still leaves just a few days of flexibility,” Dr. Smith detailed.

The school board agreed to add the two additional days.