INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — State education officials are considering whether to
allow Indiana school districts to make up some of this winter's numerous
snow days by scheduling longer school days or having online instruction on a
Superintendent Glenda Ritz said she will soon outline options for districts
that in many cases have canceled more than a week of school because of heavy
snow and extreme cold.
A district could
add an additional hour to six school days to make up for one lost day or
schools with the proper technology could provide weekend instruction over
the Internet to obtain a waiver from the state's requirement of 180 school
days, Ritz told The Indianapolis Star.
"It would be what I
call a conditional waiver," Ritz said. "You apply for the waiver and you
say: 'We want to waive these number of days and this is how we will make up
Ritz spoke after
the State Board of Education agreed on Thursday to extend the time period
for next month's ISTEP standardized testing. The board extended the applied
skills portion of the exam from March 3 until March 21. That testing had
been scheduled for March 3 through March 12.
Many educators had
expressed concerns about having enough time to prepare students for the
exams, which are administered annually to third- through eighth-graders and
cover English, math, science and social studies.
Ritz said school
districts have asked for the flexibility to increase classroom time without
adding full days to the school calendar in preparation for the ISTEP tests.
"We think it is an
option that locals have not had before," she said. "We are excited about
superintendent of Wayne Township schools in suburban Indianapolis, said he
has yet to schedule two makeup days and has faced the possibility of having
to hold classes after the high school graduation date, on Saturdays or
during spring break.
Having a longer
schools day could mean overtime pay for some employees and a possible
disruption of after-school activities, but that would be less trouble than
the other makeup possibilities, Butts said.
"We think it is
great to have different options for the communities to work through and
decide," he said. "When you are talking about what is best for the
instruction of our students and in preparation for ISTEP — I think it is