With early start delays and snow cancellation days piling up, some schools have exceeded their cancellation limit and need to decide how to make up the missing learning time to meet the mandated 180 hours of instruction a year. Schools in Indiana have had as many as 14 cancelled days and many people across the U.S. have dubbed these recurring winter storms as the “polar vortex” and “snowpocalypse2014” because it feels like an endless, cold winter.
Across the country some states are thinking about expanding the school day, week and year in order to make up lost learning time. Some suggest adding minutes to each day in order to not expand the school year. Others are thinking about adding school on Saturdays, increasing half days to full days and even taking away parts of Spring Break. A school in Pennsylvania has already taken away the Presidents’ Day Holiday in order to make up time.
Here are some innovative examples schools have used to preserve their instructional time during Snow Days:
• A New Jersey school pioneered a virtual school day which potentially could change the meaning of school days for the future.
• The Green Bay School District, in Wisconsin, recently announced the launch of a pilot program developed by Kajeet to establish mobile hotspots to help students connect to the Web away from school. In addition to being given school-issued Chromebooks, students in grades 6 to 12 will be able to take home a SmartSpot device that will provide Internet access to up to 10 devices within a range of 50 to 100 feet.
• One New Hampshire school district created a “blizzard bag day,” a snow day, with a catch. Schools are closed, but students must complete assignments at home, either online or on paper using supplies sometimes sent home in a designated ‘‘blizzard bag.’’ If 80 percent of students finish their work, the day counts as a full day and doesn’t have to be made up at the end of the school year.
Many students and administrators have taken their thoughts to Twitter:
Tell us what you think – what should schools do to make up for missed learning time?