By Tia Lynn Lecorchick staff writer
The Morgan County Board of Education (BOE) approved Superintedent Ralph Bennett’s recommendation to forgo adding school days or equivalent time to make-up for the six cancelled school days due to inclement weather during the week of Jan.y 27 and the week of Feb. 10. “It is recommended that students not be required to make up days missed…With that recommendation, however, it should be understood that parents of students are encouraged to contact school administration to seek additional assistance using the time that teachers are adding to contract days as make up,” wrote Bennett in his recommendation to the BOE. According to Bennett, “Providing time for quality teaching and learning is one of the most important resources a school system provides the students it serves.
The reduction for budgetary concerns of the student calendar from 180 to 175 days and cancellation of school for six days due to the recent inclement weather has seriously stretched this valuable resource.” The State Board of Education passed a resolution in February granting each local school board the flexibility to decide independently how to handle the recent cancelled school days. Bennett consulted with school governance councils, the Charter System Leadership Team, system teacher advisory, and school principals about the matter.
He researched a range of possible options which included lengthening school days, shortening Spring Break in April, adding days to the end of the school year, or even holding school on a few Saturdays. Ultimately, none of those options prevailed.
“While all have expressed concerns about the loss of days, all have also expressed concerns about quality given the possible options. One recommendation of the governance council was that parents of students needing additional assistance be encouraged to contact school administration and teachers to request that additional assistance be provided during the time teachers are adding to the end of contract days,” explained Bennett. Bennett believes the missed days should not be mandatory for students to make-up, but that extra help should be made available to students who feel that they need it.
“Morgan County teachers and administrators take the resource extremely seriously,” said Bennett. “The decision regarding whether to have students make up the days missed during those weeks seems to hinge on the quality of learning that can be achieved during any make-up time that might be provided.” As a result of this year’s inclement weather, the draft of the School Year 2015 system administrative calendar now includes a provision for snow days during the Winter Break scheduled for Feb. 18-20.