Schools continue to address snow days

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The issue of snow make-up days continues to challenge school districts, with major questions of whether to add a days to the end of the school year or extend class time on current days.  

Tuesday night, IPS voted to add make-up days on March 25 and June 12.

Hamilton Southeastern Schools voted Monday to add just minutes to the end of their school day - five to fourteen depending on whether elementary, junior high or high school.  

For many, adding days onto the summer break just wasn't an option with many families already making summer travel plans that can't be easily canceled or rescheduled.  

For educators, the high-stakes testing is coming up. The extra time spent in the classroom leading up to ISTEP can impact student scores, which affect teacher evaluations.  But, some question how much of a difference a few minutes can really make.

"Adding a few more minutes per class period is a huge opportunity," said Fishers Junior High Principal Crystal Thorpe. "So, when I talked to them, my social studies teacher shared with me that in three minutes, a student's questions can be answered more clearly.  Since we are supposed to be making up instructional time, adding time back to the periods lost is the only plan that makes sense."

Franklin Township Schools also voted Monday night to add ten minutes onto the end of their school day beginning this Monday and going through the end of the year.

They implemented an extensive process leading up to their decision involving all stakeholders.

The district had a total of seven snow days to make up, and was able to make up all but one without cutting into summer vacation.  So, they put the question up to teachers, parents, members in the community affected through a survey with several options.  The overwhelming decision was add time to the end of the day, but not too much.

"It hardly impacts anything," said Franklin Township Superintendent Flora Reichanadter. "It doesn't impact a lot.  It doesn't impact work schedules too much, and if the weather is decent, you won't notice it because the busses are all running late with the weather, anyway."

Of course, if we get any more snow days, all bets are off with schools stretched to the max. Summer vacations could still be affected.