Winter 2014 is going to be one for the ages. Students will talk about this year to their children: “I remember the winter where we didn’t have school!” School is an important part of children’s lives. Attending school helps students develop socially, physically, emotionally and academically. States feel school is SO important that they have mandates for the total number of days (and/or hour) a K-12 student attends during a given school year. When weather inhibits students ability to attend school, the educational process is disrupted.
Current practice in most states is to build in a few “snow days” to the calendar. When the weather requires more cancellations that normal, districts have to be creative in making up missed time by adding minutes to the day or days to the calendar. Does this work? probably not! Adding a few minutes to the remaining school days, does not make up for a missed day of learning. By adding days to the end of the year or canceling breaks, districts run the risks of students not attending due to pre-planned vacations over the breaks. Teachers also make plans for school breaks, whether it is a vacation of their own or scheduling professional development.
One district in Illinois, has come up with a creative plan to make every day count to its fullest. Using today’s technology tools, schools can turn snow days into e-learning days. Many teachers are already using the technology to keep absent students up to speed. Shouldn’t we just extend the expectations to “snow days”? States need to recognize that learning is not school dependent. Educators need to foster their relationships with students and parents by communicating learning expectations for working from home. Parents want/need activities for their students to complete when at home. Just look by looking at parents’ comments on Facebook, one can quickly notice a need for a blended learning approach to “snow days”.
Educators need to let their legislature know that we can make everyday count, Even when the students are working from home.
Here is another example of a district using e-learning days!
Or when technology might not be at home Blizzard Bags are discussed here.