Local school districts struggle with 'make-up days'

The snow day situation is getting serious for some local school corporations.

It’s to the point where seniors at Northridge High School in Middlebury have had so much time off; make-up days may require them to attend school the day after graduation (June 9th).

In Plymouth today, the fact that classes were cancelled again was painfully ironic.

“Today was supposed to be a make-up day, yes, now we got to make it up,” said Plymouth Superintendent Dan Tyree.

Today it was so cold in Plymouth that a half dozen busses would not start. That’s enough busses to leave 30 percent of the student body without a ride in subzero temperatures.

While that left no choice but to rack up snow day number nine, the Plymouth superintendent was thrilled to hear that choice may be a big part of future efforts to erase his snow day deficit.

“You know that there are online schools? We have online classes already, so why can’t we do online make up days?” asked Dan Tyree.

Indiana’s State School Superintendent is working on a plan to provide flexibility for districts that have been hit hard by bad weather.

Glenda Ritz says the plan would likely allow each school day to be lengthened by as much as an hour, as well as Saturday online instruction.

In the Plymouth Community School System the idea of online make up days makes a lot of sense because every student has a laptop.

“We would have to spend six hours on school work on Saturday, and the kids could be working in, you know, if they are, let 's say they are in wresting and there's a wrestling tournament that day, they could do it in the morning before it started,” said Tyree.

Penn Harris Madison School Corporation Superintendent Dr. Jerry Thacker says the length of his district’s school day already exceeds the state minimum.

“Well, I’ve always been an advocate for students attending schools for a number of hours versus the number of days, so in the event in parts of the state where we have a lot of snow and inclement weather we could still meet the expectations and the standards,” said Dr. Thacker.

Thacker feels the district should be able to get credit for any hours already accumulated over the state minimum.
For students in Plymouth and Middlebury, President’s Day (February 17th) is now the next scheduled make-up day.

The Middlebury Community School Corp. has also scheduled make-up days for June 2nd through the 6th.

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