HSE to extend school day to make up for snow days

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With Indiana schools taking so many snow days this year, schools are coming up with creative ways to make up the time for their students.

Some are adding days to the schedule, others are adding time to the days already on the schedule. Indianapolis Public Schools will vote Tuesday night on a plan to add two snow make-up days to the school calendar, but other districts are trying to avoid that with longer school days.

Our brutal winter has kept meteorologists busy and kept kids out of school for many more days than usual. Parent Casey Crosbie has felt the pain of both.

"Don't throw tomatoes at me, but my profession, my background is a meteorologist," Crosbie laughed.

He forecasts weather at the airport and has two kids in Hamilton Southeastern Schools. Crosbie questioned the school board Monday about how snow days will impact his children.

"Because if it's such a major impact for testing, which has been the big discussion, then why are we having snow days at the end of the year to begin with?" he asked.

Heavy snow and extreme cold have taken time from kids' classes and school calendars. Now, districts are scrambling to make up the time. HSE plans to do so minute by minute.

"Extend our school days so that we could make up instructional time prior to high stakes testing," said assistant superintendent Dr. Beth Niedermeyer.

The board voted to lengthen the school day by a few minutes through the end of the year to gain back three of its snow days. HSE says it's better than having kids make up the days in June.

Depending on their grade level, students will get 5-14 additional minutes in school each day.

Some board members questioned if an extra few minutes will really lead to learning?

"In three minutes, a student's questions can be answered more clearly since we're supposed to be making up instructional time, adding time back to the periods lost is the only plan that makes sense," said Fishers Junior High School Principal Crystal Thorpe.

It's also a plan that gives kids more time in school before ISTEP testing. Crosbie would like to see make-up days scheduled earlier in the year to avoid this problem in the future.

With a chance of snow next week, it's a problem that could continue if more snow days pile up this winter. If more days are needed, students will end up going to school in June anyway.

HSE schedule changes