Anchorage School District has plan to make up snow days
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Anchorage School District has had seven snow days since the beginning of the year, but only two were calendared for, according to Superintendent Jharrett Bryantt. At Monday night’s school board meeting Bryantt proposed how to make up the other five days.
The plan calls for adding 30 minutes to the school day starting Jan. 30 through March 9, which Bryantt said would add up to three days. He didn’t specify if the time would be added to the beginning or end of the school day and said many of those details are still being worked out.
In addition, the proposal includes turning two half days, Feb. 22 and 23, that were originally scheduled for parent-teacher conferences, into a full day of instruction.
The fifth make-up day would be Feb. 24, which was supposed to be a professional development day with no school, but instead, students would spend it in class.
Bryantt said the proposal must still be approved by the state and possibly the school board. At Monday’s meeting, he said he was aware that any plan to make up days would involve some trade-offs.
“I’ve heard from many, many community members these past couple of weeks on this topic,” Bryantt said. “Some advocated for asking DEED (AK Dept. of Education and Early Development) to waive all five days, and others on the opposite end of the spectrum advocated for adding days to the end of the calendar. The rationale behind this plan is that it minimally alters the calendar and recognizes the importance of instructional time.”
Bryantt also addressed another concern raised during the extended snow days: Why didn’t the district go to remote learning? Bryantt said many students didn’t have the things they needed to learn from home, including computers.
“In ASD we would have needed students, particularly elementary students, to be in school long enough to receive technology and paper materials to aid in remote learning,” he said. “Given the many consecutive snow days that was not feasible for a district of our size.”
Bryantt said he anticipated that remote learning could be a central part of their inclement weather strategy moving forward.
“I’ve asked staff to begin planning for that,” he said.
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