Districts implement plans to make up for missed snow days
School districts across the state are trying to make up for lost time after canceling school several days this year because of the weather.
Starting Monday, Perry Township Schools will tack on 36 minutes to the end of each school day through May 9. The district lost seven instructional days this year because of bad weather.
The Indiana Department of Education is allowing district to bank instruction time by adding extra minutes to the school day. The 36 minutes breaks down to six extra minutes per class each day.
"Six minutes is an eternity," said Southport High School Advanced Placement English Teacher Sam Hanley. "You ask any teacher, if you didn't plan for six minutes, what would happen. It would be chaos. Six minutes is a lot of time in a classroom."
Now Perry Township school teachers like Hanley will have six extra minutes during each class to bring the lesson home.
"If there's a short story you're reading in class, that is the difference between that last question to make sure that kids understand it or not and sometimes that's all it takes," Hanley explained.
The clock's ticking, though, with an end of April deadline looming for end of course assessment tests and advanced placement tests set for early May.
"Adding the extra time in allows us to be able to cover that extra material before the tests," said Southport High School senior Anna Laws.
District officials asked students like Laws the best way to make up for lost time.
"I really don't want to go to school on Saturdays. I'm busy with speech, church activities. It really wouldn't work out for me," Laws explained.
Laws wasn't the only one concerned about the Saturday class option.
"One of the local grocery stores called us and said, 'Please do not hold school on Saturdays. We won't have anybody to bag groceries'," Perry Township Schools Superintendent Tom Little recalled.
Little also asked parents about adding missed days to the end of the year.
"They take those tests the first week in May. Adding days to the end of the school year is not going to accomplish anything for them," said Southport High School PTA President Vivian Leach.
The date of graduation was also considered.
"They were saying, 'Don't. Do not move commencement'," Little said of the response he got from parents.
Ultimately, 36 minutes extra a day was the final decision to make up for the four days lost this year.
Students actually missed seven days, but the state waived two, while students went to school on Presidents Day, a holiday on which they normally stay home.
Little said the district has some cushion time with two more weeks in May to add time to, should there be any more snow days this year.
Students like Anna Laws, though, said they're ready for the snow days to be over this year.
"I'm just ready for spring," said Laws.
Many of them said they were ready to learn those lessons and take those tests, so summer break can get here.