Westfield approves longer days to make up for missed class


While some school districts may have to extend their calendar to make up for days lost to snow, one district is considering extending the school day.

Westfield students lost almost two weeks of classes to bad weather.

"It is one of the worst winters I can remember," said Superintendent Mark Keen.

It's a winter Keen and families in the district can't forget until they make up the remaining four missed days. But instead of a longer school year, Keen is recommending longer school days.

"I think it is better for the children," Keen said.

Children will be in school an extra hour a day for 24 days. Teachers will use those critical hours to prepare students for ISTEP, college placement and other high stakes exams.

"They will cover more material prior to the key tests being given," Keen said.

Westfield's school board approved allowing Keen to decide how to extend the calendar to make up the days at their meeting Tuesday night. This means school days will likely be extended by one hour until the time is made up.

Wayne Township schools will add one hour to six days to make up one of the days missed by snow.

The other alternative would be adding days to the end of the year, long after the tests are over.

The unusually brutal winter has schools scrambling to make up for days classes were canceled.

Brown County schools lost 11 days and has delayed graduation by two weeks. Luckily, Brownsburg built four of its five missed days into the school calendar and Hamilton Southeastern is extending the year with some of its make-up days.

Westfield parents are just learning about the likely longer days.

"I do think the time for a kindergartner is a long time, but for the older kids, I am okay with it," said parent Lucy Sulewski.

Parent Lisa Allen sees it as a tough choice.

"You go into the summer and take away your vacation or go longer on days for 24 days. There is no good solution," she said.

The longer days will likely come during the lull between winter and spring sports and other activities - assuming there is a spring.