The Indiana Department of Education has officially announced a series of options for Indiana schools to make up instructional time lost due to weather-related school closings.
Districts can apply for conditional waivers by adding time to the school day, or by adding days to the school calendar without requesting a waiver. There are also virtual learning opportunities available to some districts which are equipped with the necessary technology.
“As Hoosiers, we always expect harsh winter weather,” said Superintendent Glenda Ritz in a written statement. “However, this year’s storms have been extreme and have interrupted instruction for schools throughout the state. I have spoken with countless superintendents and they have all asked for more flexibility for scheduling instructional time. I have heard their concerns, and I am happy to make these options available to our schools.”
To make up for the missed time, some local school districts are choosing to extend their school days.
“Yes, it extends the day but we know that we can get a lot done with our students in that hour,” said Wayne Township Superintendent Dr. Jeff Butts. ”We knew the teachers were already there, our students were already there, we didn’t have to worry about getting students back to school like we would on a Saturday or on a holiday that was not already scheduled.”
Westfield Washington schools also approved a proposal to extended days. It was either that or add four days on to the end of the school year.
FOX59 talked to more than 15 Indiana school districts this week. Several superintendents said they are considering extending the school day to make up lost time. Those districts include Indianapolis Public Schools, Carmel Clay, Perry Township and Zionsville.
Martinsville schools voted Tuesday night to increase school days by one hour from Feb. 19 – March 14, making up for the equivalent of three school days.
In many cases the proposals are still being reviewed and the local school board will have to approve any changes to the calendar year.
Wayne township will see six school days in March extended by an hour.
“I think it’s the best solution when we talk about an education for our students and I’ve gotten an awful lot of positive feedback also from parents, from teachers and really from students,” said Dr. Butts.