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Schools looking to forgive missed days

POSTED: February 17, 2014 9:42 a.m.

No need to cancel Spring Break or graduation plans just yet.

It’s not set in stone, but Barrow Schools Superintendent Wanda Creel is not planning on making up any more of the instruction days lost in the latest snow storm.

"We’re trying to honor the plans that people have in place," she said Friday, "while also trying to be creative to get our work completed."

There are a couple of reasons why the days would not need to be made up.

No. 1: Creel said it was the executive staff’s understanding that, due to Georgia Governor Nathan Deal declaring a State of Emergency last week, the state board of education has the power to pass a resolution allowing school districts the option of not making up days missed during that time period.

No. 2: Even if the state board chose to not waive the days, Creel said that, even with the days missed, the district calendar still has the equivalent hours of a 180-day calendar due to the length of the school days.

On Friday, the fourth consecutive day off for students but a voluntary work day for faculty and staff, Creel said teachers were already finding ways to maximize their remaining instructional time along with before and after school hours and even lunch breaks in order to give the students all of the time they need to learn the material, and the teachers all the time possible to prepare.

Making up work days for the faculty is a different matter, since they are already being paid on a 12-month contract and thus must make up professional learning hours. A professional learning day for teachers scheduled on March 7 already has to be made up after Creel suggested to the Barrow board of education that the day be turned into an instructional day to make up for earlier lost instructional days from the winter storm two weeks prior.

Creel said the district sent out instructions on Tuesday in order to make up some of their work hours, learning or otherwise, online while the teachers stayed home for the week, and she said it’s already received positive feedback.

For faculty who could not work during the week, Creel said they would have a period of time to make it up.

It’ll mean some creative thinking and working by teachers to get in the needed student instruction as well as their own professional learning time, but Creel and her executive staff, including Chris McMichael and Ken Greene, felt they made the right decision in taking off all four days this week due to the snow and ice.

Greene, who drove a lot of the roads this morning, noted that, while a number of roads were driveable this morning in light traffic, that the added traffic open schools would’ve created could have caused more problems.

A team of seven drivers from the school district actually tested the roads each afternoon this week, driving down all of the bus routes and main roads to determine whether to have school the next day.

Also, Creel noted that the district had to take into account the shape of the school parking lots and the fact that, at the high school level, opening school late in the week would’ve put a lot of young drivers on the roads in less than perfect conditions.

"We err on the side of safety every time," she said.

 

Survey:

The district now has a 29-question survey on its website asking students, parents, employees, business leaders and the community to give input on what they would like to see in the district’s next superintendent.

The survey can be found on the system homepage at barrow.k12.ga.us.

Questions are answered by the importance of the quality looked for in the next superintendent, on a scale of very important to not important at all.

 

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