Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

January 24, 2014

Mercer schools look to make up for lost class time

PRINCETON — A combination of snow and bitter temperatures have forced the Mercer County school system to use all eight of the snow days built into its calendar, so other days in the calendar will be used to make up for lost classroom time.

As of Thursday, all the scheduled non-instructional days have been converted into school days, said county information specialist Kellan Sarles.

“If bad weather continues to close schools, the county has the option of requiring students to attend on instructional support (IS) Days, days usually designated for tutoring, teacher collaboration, and faculty senate meetings,” Sarles said.

Superintendent Deborah Akers said there is no provision for lengthening the school year.

 “The last official day for students will be Monday, June 2. The last day for teachers will be June 3,” she said. “High school graduation ceremonies will take place the evening of May 23.”

Although the Legislature recently enacted measures requiring 180 separate days of instruction for all West Virginia students regardless of weather-related cancellations, lawmakers delayed putting the statute into effect until the 2014-2015 school year, Sarles said.

On Thursday, six out of school environment (OSE) days scheduled for March 10, 19, 27, 28, April 11 and May 27 have been converted to regular instructional days, Sarles said.

 One continuing education (CE) day scheduled for March 3 and a curriculum development (CD) day set for March 31 have also now been designated as regular school days, Sarles stated.

If the weather forces more days away from school, there are still three more instructional support (IS) days that could be converted into regular school days, Sarles said.

“If we go over those, it’s just lost instructional time for the year,” she said.

The need to make up time lost to snow days will not impact this year’s spring break, Sarles said. Spring break runs from April 14 to 18 this year.

“We will still have spring break, because those were not put into the calendar as employee work days,” she stated.

Families will be reminded about the new school days one of two ways, Sarles said. The schools will use a messaging service or principals will send messages home in student backpacks. Many schools also have their own newsletters to keep families informed

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