Make-up days begin
Monday to be a school day due to snow cancellations
Posted on 02/14/2014
teacherThis was to be a long weekend break for students but the long break in the middle of the week because of snow has changed those plans.  Monday will now be a full school day as a make-up for the day missed on Wednesday.  The school system announced that change when the forecast caused the cancellation of school on Tuesday.  

"We have just missed too much time in the classroom since the beginning of this year,' lamented Dr. Jeff McDaniel, superintendent of Floyd County Schools. "The state has certain requirements that must be met in regard to school attendance, but for us, it is much more about providing the instructional time our children need than simply meeting state mandates."  According to state policy, school systems are allowed to miss four days during the year without making-up those days. The four days include any time missed due to a state of emergency being declared.  The state has informed systems that the State Board of Education will consider making a change to allow this week's missed days due to snow be optional make-up days but that action has not been taken at this time.  Floyd County students have missed eight days since the first of the year.

"The state allowing us to write off those days and not make them up does not help our students gain the knowledge they will need to be successful on state tests, Georgia End-of-Course Tests and Advanced Placement Tests," added, McDaniel. "Not recovering instructional time would result in teachers being required to condense much more information into less time in the classroom or not covering some material."  Not covering the material would require students to answer questions on tests about subject matter that was not studied in class.  Condensing the material would rush teachers and students through some topics without being able to spend the time necessary for students to master the course work.  "We are at the point in the number of days we have missed that these scenarios would certainly play out in our classrooms in the coming months, if we did not make up instructional time," McDaniel said. "We must make decisions that are in the best interest of the academic development of our children."  

There are many levels of impact to a loss of instruction time in the classroom.  End-of-Course Tests are now factored into a student's final grade point average for a course and impact a student's overall GPA for high school.  Long range, the impact could affect a student's eligibility for the Hope Scholarship or other post secondary opportunities. Students taking AP courses would find it much more difficult to achieve the score necessary to earn the college credit available by taking the AP course and test.  Also, student advancement can be impacted by scores on standardized state testing.  McDaniel said, "No one wants to take planned student holidays as make-up for missed instructional time but the potential academic consequences for our students makes the decision necessary." 

It is also important to begin to make up instructional time now so that flexible days built into the school calendar in February and March can be used and it will be less likely the full week of spring break would be impacted.  "We have long weekends built into our calendar for this weekend and for a weekend in March that can help us to recover class time," stated Tim Hensley, assistant to the superintendent. "Moving now to recover some of those days will not leave us with spring break as the only option later in the year."  He added, "We are still in February so more days missed due to weather are not out of the question." 

One more day will need to be made up for the time missed on Thursday.  The plan for the additional day that will be used to make up that time will be announced next week.