Tennessee students will be in school more after snow storms forced them to close. Hamilton County School has missed six school days and is close to using up their seven built-in school make up days. Dalton high school will extend class times to meet state requirements. Aside from Tennessee schools losing more school days, students will also have to learn certain concepts before schools administer standardized tests. Sandy Bradley, an instructional coach at Dade County Schools, said that their test dates will not change and that teachers know they will need to teach all standards before the time comes. Bradley said that teachers have begun adjusting their lesson plans on Monday before schools cancelled the next day.
Schools in Tennessee might have more trouble making up days since they have a 13 day limit and most schools are close to or past this limit. Dale Hollowell, the Interim Director for Schools, said that the weather has not cooperated with them. He continues by saying that they have had very little sunshine and freezing temperatures so not much has melted. He also said that they might use President’s Day as well as using an in-service day in March to make up for lost days. Hollowell said they could also use spring break and add school days to the end of the year.
When schools are closed in Tennessee they are closed to keep students and staff safe. Tim Maynard, the Director of Transportation, said he wanted to have students go back to school on Friday, but 60 percent of the roads were covered in ice. He wanted to transport students to school safely but knew there was no way they could do that with the ice on the roads. In terms of schooling, teachers are not able to cut out the fluff since there is not enough left. They have complex curriculum maps that aid them in hitting dozens of state standards before testing begins. If the days are missed because of snow or student absences every day is crucial.
Studies have shown that students perform better when days are added on to the end of the year but test scores dropped when they missed school. Joshua Goodman, a professor at Harvard and former teacher, said that keeping schools open during snow storms is worse than closing them. When bad weather occurs, Goodman found that many students miss school anyway. Teachers will not have to worry about catching up a group of students who missed school because everyone missed it.
He continues by saying that because of the tight time constraint schools have, they can make up for time that students missed. He said that student absences take time away from students because teachers need to catch up students who missed school. Even though Tennessee schools cannot change the fact that they are losing more school days, technology can help them deal with the days they miss. At Girls Preparatory School, teachers are posting assignments and projects for students on an online portal so students can stay on track.
Tennessee schools are forced to close school more often because of snow. These schools have used most of their 13 built-in school days and are planning on using Monday as one of these days. Bradley County Schools have missed six days out of the nine they are allowed to use for snow make up days. Since these Tennessee schools are losing more school days because of snow, some schools are deciding to extend the school day or add days onto the end of the school year to make up for the lost days. The Dalton School District has decided to extend the school year and schools in Catoosa County will be extending the school day so they can meet the state requirement. No matter how many more days Tennessee schools miss, they will have to get creative if they want to make them up.
By Jordan Bonte
Times Free Press
News Channel 9