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Plan developed to make-up snow days

JACKSON – Northampton County Public School officials are currently devising a plan on how to make-up for lost instructional time due to adverse winter weather.

NCPS Superintendent Dr. Monica Smith-Woofter held a Tuesday afternoon meeting with all public school principals in the county. It was decided to use “non student days” (basically teacher workdays) in March and June that were already built in to the 2014-15 NCPS calendar as make-up days.

Smith-Woofter had originally considered a plan that would add 30 minutes to each school day until the end of May. However, another plan was adopted, pending approval of the Northampton County Board of Education.

“We agreed to recommend to the Board of Education at their meeting this upcoming Monday (March 9) to make up our missed instructional hours during non student days previously scheduled in March and June,” Smith-Woofter said.

“Four days will be recommended as makeup days instead of extending the school day by 30 minutes,” she added. “All of our schools have scheduled after school tutoring and intervention sessions with students so with as many students who already remain after school, they (principals) wanted to protect this intervention opportunity for their students.”

The Superintendent said the principals were also in agreement not to use any of the school system’s planned Easter break as make-up days. That break begins on Good Friday (April 3) and lasts through the following week (Monday, April 6 until Friday, April 10).

“That was my thought as well; keeping spring break intact,” she said.

Smith-Woofter said the overall goal is to ensure that all NCPS students meet the state requirements for instructional hours.

“We operate under a system that requires 1,025 hours of instruction over the course of an entire academic year. We will ensure that our children reach that level of instruction,” she stressed.

To date, Smith-Woofter said 5.5 designated school days have been missed over the past couple of weeks due to snow and sleet, which led to icy road conditions and unsafe travel. There have been other days where the school system operated under a delayed opening, also due to the weather.

“The majority of our schools operate on a seven-hour day (8 a.m. – 3 p.m.),” she said. “When you lose an hour or two here and there due to delayed openings, that also impacts the bottom line when it comes to meeting our goal of providing 1,025 hours of instruction.”

Smith-Woofter added that Saturdays can be used as make-up days, but only when they fall during a week when a day is missed due to weather conditions.

“Our policy does not allow for a six-day school week; we can only use a Saturday for school during a week that is shortened because of the weather,” she noted.

The plan put forth by the Superintendent and NCPS principals needs the school board’s approval before it becomes official.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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