Monday, March 17 will now be a school day in Floyd County Schools to make up for the day missed last Thursday because of snow. The Monday was part of a planned long weekend break for students and staff on the school calendar. Students and staff will still be out of school on Friday, March 14, unless more school days are missed before the break. The Friday date has been identified as another possible make-up day, if more class time is missed. “We do not like having to change the school calendar but our top priority right now is the quality of academic time that our children will be in the classroom between now and planned assessments in April and May,” state Dr. Jeff McDaniel, superintendent of Floyd County Schools. “Our students and teachers must be provided the opportunity to perform at their best on tests that can have significant implications and possible long-term impact on our schools, children and families.”
Lost instruction can impact student promotion, grades, grade-point-averages, graduation, college credit and potential scholarship opportunities. State tests are administered in April that can impact promotion for students in third, fifth and eighth grades. End-of-Course Tests are held in May for high school students. The EOCTs are factored into a student’s grade for the course and could be a factor in graduation for some students. The EOCTs not only impact a final grade for a student but will have long-term implications for a student’s grade-point-average. The grade-point average can then ultimately determine a student’s ability to qualifying for college scholarships, the state Zell Miller Scholarship, and Hope scholarship. Advanced Placement tests are also given in early May that can earn students college credit for courses taken in high school.
Not recovering instructional days would result in teachers being required to condense much more information into less time in the classroom or not covering some material. "We are at the point in the number of days we have missed that unpleasant 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."
Research shows that missed school time due to weather and how you make-up that school time can impact student learning. In a 2009 study, “You Can’t School Mother Nature,” The Department of Public Policy researched the impact of missed school days on student results in Maryland and Colorado. The research found that students were impacted in performance by missing school days. The study determined that the number of 3rd graders performing satisfactorily on state reading and math assessments was nearly 3 percent lower in years with an average number of unscheduled closures (5). The study concluded, “The impact was the largest in mathematics and for students in lower grades.”
The National Center for Time and Learning, a non-profit advocate of adding instructional time for students, concludes that adding just a few minutes a day is not as effective as reclaiming an entire school day or class period. “Adding fifteen or twenty minutes to the school day at the high school level would produce very little additional instructional time for each class period,” stated McDaniel. “Each of the seven periods would only get two or three minutes extra instruction a day.” Also many of those instructional hours would fall after the testing periods when they are needed most. McDaniel added, “Giving children and teachers back an entire instructional day in March will allow teachers the time to cover content missed on snow days and the opportunity for children to take in the instruction being provided.”