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School districts weigh options to make up missed snow days

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The DeKalb County School District plans to look at three options for make-up days that resulted from the two recent winter storms. DeKalb is one of the districts in Georgia looking at how to deal with the lost classroom time since the state Board of Education decided Feb. 20 to give districts the flexibility to determine if students will make up the days or not.    

 

"We appreciate the prompt decision by the state Board of Education," said Superintendent Michael Thurmond, who said he is meeting to review three options with senior staff. "Our final decision will be guided by what works best for the students as we are preparing for the upcoming CRCT and EOCT exams and will be discussed with the DeKalb County Board of Education on Monday, March 3."

 

DeKalb County students missed 10 days as a result of inclement weather. Fulton, Gwinnett, Clayton and Rockdale counties missed seven days; and Cobb County students missed six days.   

 

Normally, districts are required to have 180 instructional days and must get special permission from the state Board of Education to shorten that calendar.

 

The state board, however, is letting each district decide what it wants to do. Districts can add days back to their school calendar, finish the year without adding days, have extended school days or even cancel scheduled breaks to make up the days that were missed during the winter storms.

Rockdale decided to make up some of its days by forfeiting the district's winter intercession break. The district also plans to use its March 14 teacher work day, where students were originally scheduled off, as a full instructional day.

 

The Fulton County School Board has approved a plan for making up the instructional time. The plan includes changing March 14 from a teacher workday to an instructional day. In addition, the CRCT testing window for elementary and middle school students is being pushed back four days, giving students and teachers five additional days to prepare. The testing window now begins April 22.

District leaders also are exploring ways for schools to provide students with additional academic support after school hours. Digital resources aligned to the curriculum are also being developed for students.

 

“We looked to our school leaders, parents and community for their input on how to make up the missed days,” said Superintendent Robert Avossa. “We know that our schools’ instructional needs are very diverse, and that a one-size-fits-all approach wasn’t the best option. Some students are doing just fine with the missed days while others might need extra assistance to get back on track, especially those scheduled for Advanced Placement and End-of-Course exams.”

 

The rest of the school year calendar is unaffected. Spring break remains on schedule for April 7-11 and the last day of school will be May 23. High school graduation dates are not impacted.

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