Gwinnett to make up snow days by extending days: Good or bad idea?

Gwinnett County Public Schools has announced that to make up snow days it will be extending the school day by 30 minutes from March 3 to May 14.

From the Gwinnett County Public School website:

“To date, GCPS students have missed 7 days due to inclement weather. Three make-up days (Feb. 17, March 14, and May 22) were built in the 2013-14 school calendar. The additional lost instructional time will be made up by extending the school day by 30 minutes for 48 days. This means that all schools will dismiss a half-hour later than their regular time, from March 3 through May 14.

This plan allows the district to maintain 180 days of instruction, making up the time in a manner that has the most positive impact on instruction. Click here to learn more.”

What do you think? Good plan, bad plan? Does is screw up carefully orchestrated after-school activities? Will those be pushed back as well?

I actually think this makes sense. They are already there, and it doesn’t mess up graduation and family vacations. I think it’s makes sense schedule-wise but does it make sense learning-wise? Can teachers get as much done in increments of 30 minutes as they could with a whole days?

40 comments Add your comment

Rod

February 24th, 2014
2:18 pm

We’re in DeKalb, so this is possibly coming. For us it would be great – our son gets out at 2:20, but stays in an after-care program until after 4:00. So this would be totally painless for us.

I think at least 30-40% of our school (elementary) has kids that stay after school as well, so it wouldn’t hurt those families. Another 20-30% have a stay-at-home parent and this shouldn’t affect them either. Then for the bus-riding kids, they’ll just get home half an hour later – no harm.

So for elementary kids – GREAT!!!!

For high school kids without after-school functions, great. Overall I think this really only hurts older kids who have activities after school – this will cause them to be at school really late or drop the activity. I think this is the best of the possible choices.

shs

February 24th, 2014
2:30 pm

I think it is a good solution-one I don’t ever remember having to use. It is an unusual year to need more than the preplanned makeup days. I’m glad that the school year will end when originally planned and not be extended until the end of May.

tinkerella

February 24th, 2014
2:35 pm

My kid gets out of elementary school at 3:20 already. Just add the days to the end of the calendar.

Richard

February 24th, 2014
2:47 pm

In college, they made up time in the summer (4 weeks shorter) semester by extending all classes by 10 minutes. There was never an issue.

stone pony

February 24th, 2014
2:51 pm

@tinkerella – you can’t add at the end of the year because of lost instructional days before EOCTs, CRCTs, AP exams, etc.

Rod

February 24th, 2014
2:54 pm

@tinkerella – as stone pony stated, adding days to the end of the calendar hurts all of the testing.

Additionally, MANY families have vacations scheduled starting the weekend of Memorial Day (with confirmed reservations, time scheduled off work) and extending the school year would destroy many plans (and no, they shouldn’t have forseen the need for 8 cancelled school days).

Scooby

February 24th, 2014
2:57 pm

Wow, what’s the big deal that this needs to be discussed. 30 minutes a day. Why not break it up and make it 15 minutes earlier in the morning and 15 minutes later in the afternoon. 30 minutes is NOT THAT LONG.

HB

February 24th, 2014
3:00 pm

I find the idea of aiming for a certain number of minutes in a year to be odd. So what are they going to do, add 5 minutes per day to each of 6 high school classes? Can you really make up lost blocks of learning time that way? If I lose 60 minutes of work time today, adding a couple of minutes per day for the next month isn’t really going to make up the lost productivity. Working an extra hour tomorrow or half-hour for a couple of days probably would, though. They should add days to the end of the year, or not bother making up the time at all.

Good Grief

February 24th, 2014
3:02 pm

Go to the GCPS Facebook page and read the melodramatic and vitriolic comments from the parents. Embarrassing oneself on social media seems to be the ‘new normal’. The ‘what about me’ attitude trickles down to their children. I really feel badly for the teachers that are on the front lines dealing with these types of parents. To steal a quote ‘Life is not fair, a fair is ferris wheels and funnel cakes!’

iRun

February 24th, 2014
3:05 pm

APS just has to make up one day and they’re doing that by converting a teacher planning day into a regular instructional day.

As for adding 30 minutes to the school day. I don’t think it’s a problem for the kids. And I think a lot of parents won’t mind it.

I wonder, though, the impact on teacher planning. I think, in general, teachers plan for a typical’s day instruction, and often they use lesson plans from previous years as a template. It serves as a realistic guide on how long to expect instruction for certain topics to take. So, if now teachers are needing to extend instructional time it might be kind of tricky. Especially for middle and high school..that’s what? 5 minutes per class? That doesn’t add any real instructional time. It might be better to add a whole day somewhere.

I’m not saying I’m right. I’m just thinking about how weird changes in instructional plans can have a more complicated impact than people think, based on watching when my husband has to change up his lessons for the grad school classes he teaches. I know that’s a different level. But if he’s teaching a 90 minute class and it’s almost always 90 minutes and then something happens and he has to turn one class day into 120 minutes it kind of causes a hassle. So, I can imagine having to rearrange everything for 48 days and it being harder than you’d expect.

common sense

February 24th, 2014
3:07 pm

I for one think its a bad idea. This is an interruption that lasts for 2 months. I say get it over quickly or else squeeze the extra work into the normal schedule. I know there is plenty of time in the day to do that.

OMG

February 24th, 2014
3:10 pm

Gwinnett is the largest system so of course they are going to have the biggest problem. Schedules are already staggered due to buses being used at all levels E, M, and H. This year the weather has been unprecedented and unpredictable. They will likely rework next years calendar to include not more inclement weather days and won’t use the first one! They are damned in any decision they make for the STUDENTS.

tinkerella

February 24th, 2014
3:22 pm

It will also add to the traffic nightmare up here – buses will be running way into the 5 o’clock rush. I would say add it in the morning but the high school kids start at 7:00 already.

OMG

February 24th, 2014
3:24 pm

Wilbanks was NOT going to forgive these days. Test scores and government money is on the line so forgetting these days was never an option. Parents would have been even more outraged if he had cut into Spring Break or added to the end of the year past Memorial Day. The lesser of the other evils if you will. Most likely 30 minutes per week tacked onto individual core curriculum classes, not 5 minutes onto each class each day. Use those critical thinking skills.

dc

February 24th, 2014
3:44 pm

glad gwinnett is actually making up the lost time. says to me that they actually believe the instruction time is of value – not just babysitting. personally would’ve preferred extending the calendar at the end, but do get that it impacts a lot of plans.

adding 30 minutes at the end might impact work schedules and after school activities, but seems like a good alternative

A

February 24th, 2014
4:19 pm

Wish Fulton would do something similar. As it is, we are only making up 1 day and they will turn March 14 (previously a teacher work day) into an instructional day.

Mother of 2

February 24th, 2014
4:37 pm

We had a similar solution in another state I previously lived in. It worked out great for parents, students, and teachers.

motherjanegoose

February 24th, 2014
5:19 pm

No way you are going to please everyone. Lots of $$$ is lost when days are forgiven. I have NO idea how much the funding is per child per day in Gwinnett, as this is something I do not need to know. Let’s say it is $10 per day ( on the low side) per child. If you have 800 kids in a school ( also low for some schools) that is $8000 per day. If my math is correct, that would be $32,000 ( at least) per school. …for 4 days.

Wait until the after school day cares hear about this as that will be 30 minutes per day that will be taken out of their pockets. WOW. Again, someone is not going to be happy!

Kevin Ryan

February 24th, 2014
6:03 pm

TERRIBLE IDEA. What could possibly be accomplished in an extra 5 minutes per class? Even if only core classes are extended, the absolute negative of having our middle schoolers getting home at 5:00-5:30 depending on traffic is a disaster. What about the Spring sports that are in full swing? And other activities? Why not give the kids a little extra homework going forward?

Chicken Little...

February 24th, 2014
6:07 pm

…the sky is falling, the sky is falling…

Hidden Agenda

February 24th, 2014
6:50 pm

Day care centers need to keep consistent hours.

catlady

February 24th, 2014
7:45 pm

Everyone will not be happy with ANY solution! Period!

catlady

February 24th, 2014
7:49 pm

Enter your comments here

Irishtagg

February 24th, 2014
8:32 pm

I think it is a little crazy for middle school children to get home from school @ 5:30pm

Hidden Agenda

February 24th, 2014
9:22 pm

Will the prison buses be running later as well?

Kevin

February 24th, 2014
9:41 pm

I don’t understand why schools are almost jails in this country. I Am doomed to be a prisoner in Collins Hill High School, my life sucks.

Misty

February 24th, 2014
11:58 pm

Why not just give the students the assignments and homework that was missed during the snow days and have them turn them in by a specified date?

B727guru

February 25th, 2014
7:40 am

Why not schedule 2 Saturdays and get it over with?

jdlang

February 25th, 2014
9:37 am

b/c a state of emergency being declared did Gwinnett have to make up the days? my child will have to become accustom to a different schedule time-wise getting something like 6 extra minutes per period (actually it doesn’t work out that nicely) and already it is 4:30/45P before s/he gets off the bus. so now it will be 5:00/15P before the bus drops off students at his/her stop. sad in my opinion, but better then extending the school year. I plan to be picking her up in carpool most days and checking her out early other days in order to make after school activities. its a solution for the masses and it will impact my family negatively, but I respect those whose schedules it impacts positively and hope they in turn respect my position.

d1tutor

February 25th, 2014
9:41 am

after school activities will be rushed or shortened. Traffic will be an issue. During my after school program we offer homework help with a closing time of 6:30p.m.. We will be limited with homework completion and test preparations due to this change in school schedule. Who thought this would be a good idea, did not really consider the students, families and their extra curricular activities. why not take a poll for suggestions before concluding with a bad decision. This is a terrible idea.

Music Instructor

February 25th, 2014
12:48 pm

This is a really bad idea that impacts my business and businesses like mine. Everyday after school I have a very tight schedule for my teachers and the students. Although we teach lessons to home school students and professionals during the day our after school hours are our busiest time. We have students that come directly from school to our facility to take music lessons and it stays full all the way until we close at 8PM. This messes up our whole flow of lessons. We have students that are stacked on top of one another because the lessons that used to come directly after school are now not possible. So all in all the student will either not come or will be rescheduled for another time. This is a problem not only will we be loosing money but potentially the student. The amount of loss is really going to effect our bottom line. I wish they would reconsider for all of us who make our living doing after school programs and activities. (Dance Lessons, Karate, Athletics, Gymnastics, Tudors,…. )

Wednesday8

February 25th, 2014
1:40 pm

Bad bad bad idea. They’re not adding 30 minutes to one class, where it might actually help, but a few extra minutes to *each* class. How is this supposed to help students? All it does it create a massive inconvenience and wreak havoc with those who have jobs, after school activities, daycare, dual enrollment, etc. If I were in charge of Gwinnett school bus logistics, I think I’d be having a nervous breakdown right now. They already under supply busing in our school district.

But it sure makes a nice bullet point on those end-of-year summaries, doesn’t it? Never mind that that instruction virtually stops in April anyway so that almighty standardized testing can occur. I have no idea why they didn’t just suck it up and add four days to the end of the calendar, AS THEY HAVE ALWAYS DONE IN THE PAST, if it was so important to maintain instructional hours to receive federal benefits.

They really blindsided everyone with this. Thousands of families will be dealing with the headaches for no real benefit.

Laura

February 25th, 2014
4:36 pm

Adding the time to each day technically makes up the time, and politically satisfies those in charge. However, it does not make up the lost instruction, nor does it bridge the gap for students.

After school activities are disrupted and in some cases cancelled, middle schoolers are getting off the bus as late as 5:30,and high school graduation is still being moved. High school students with after school jobs may lose their positions, which is a big economical impact to families who need multiple streams of income to live. Not to mention special needs students who need after school time for therapy and tutoring. All of this with less than a weeks notice.

concerneddad

February 25th, 2014
7:17 pm

JUST GIVE THE KIDS THE WORK THAT WAS MISSED, ITS NOT LIKE THEIR LEARNING IN THESE GREAT INSTITUTIONS ANY WAY MOST TEACHING HAPPENS AT HOME, TEACHERS JUST INTRODUCE SUBJECTS!!!!!

just wondering

February 25th, 2014
8:04 pm

Maybe they should just cancel spring break and if your kid misses those days they fail all of their classes and we will see you next year….what a bunch of whiners.

Diomy

February 25th, 2014
11:03 pm

Chill out people. Its cool. Yeah, they will be there a little longer, but I think the students should get more time for lunch. They have about 22 mins to eat, more or usually less. What if we gave them a little more time to eat and talk, and to relax? More social time may make them a little less pint up. I think its a good way to wind down to summer.

Courtney

February 25th, 2014
11:44 pm

Worst Idea Ever! Alvin Wilbanks has done nothing but raise taxes, spent money, and watched test scores fall. And now this lame brain idea so he can look like a man, GCPS is already out of Bus Drivers and this will chase away all the quality remaining ones.

Attention Parents

February 26th, 2014
10:18 am

This Is Life! Adaptability and flexibility are part of what makes a person successful. The attitudes you display in these types of situations are learning experiences for your children. Be a role model for your child. Everyone is entitled to his / her opinion. Learn discretion and discernment in your public words. You can be your own worst enemy or your best friend. Your kids are watching YOU.

Rod

February 27th, 2014
9:33 am

A bunch of “chicken littles” in here. Really? 30 minutes is going to destroy your child’s life and your entire day? Really?

Grow up. There aren’t any GOOD options, but this is the least bad for the masses – and the masses are what counts, not YOU.

Bee

February 27th, 2014
6:31 pm

Inconvenience is a part of life. Get over it people!