It was clear after a long discussion between Albia School Board members and administration that figuring out how best to provide quality instruction days for snow days is no easy task.
At Monday’s meeting, the discussion and a plan presented by Superintendent Kevin Crall revolved around eight missed days of school because of snow and ice. Now it’s nine days that have to be made up by state mandate.
Classroom teacher and mentor teacher Joe Judge had helped Superintendent Crall, along with others, to come up with a plan to not only make up lost instructional days, but teacher personal development hours.
“Our baseline was first and foremost quality instruction,” said Judge. He agreed with Superintendent Crall that using Saturdays and moving make-up days deep into June would not create quality instruction.
“Making up days in January and February is a lot better than June,” said Crall. “You’re just not going to find kids as attentive.”
School Board President Craig Ambrose suggested that other schools have original calendars with school out in June. “I’m not suggesting we do that, but other places make it work,” he said. “It’s something to consider in the future.”
Board member and former high school principal Linda Hoskins supported not using Saturdays or June days. “It hasn’t been our tradition to go to school into June,” she said. “We’re still a farming community and over the years parents told me their kids just wouldn’t attend in June. Saturdays you just have students filling seats.”
Board member Mallory Stocker questioned why a day out of school this Friday for the state wrestling tournament wasn’t in play. “We struggled for years with parents letting their junior high and high school students attend the state wrestling meet,” said Superintendent Crall. “Some years we would have 60 or 70 percent attendance. It made sense to use that Friday of the state wrestling tournament as a mid-winter break.”
In the plan presented, the Monday after Easter break is to be used as a make-up date, and board member Roger George was not excited about that. “A lot of families have already made travel plans,” he said. Superintendent Crall said the district would be flexible with those stakeholders, as well as faculty who have travel plans.
What the administration presented and the board would use is a combination of the Wednesday early outs for professional development in April and May, the Monday after Easter and full days in May through the 29th to make up the eight days. The administration will revisit the plan should more weather days happen (like today).
Judge and Crall have created a flexible schedule for teachers to make up professional development hours and teachers will be going into June to fulfill their contracts.
“So far parents have really been understanding,” said Crall. “I haven’t had a single phone call complaining about our cancelling classes or having late starts and early outs.”