The Zionsville Community Schools Board of Trustees on Monday evening, Feb. 24, approved a proposal to make up educational time lost to “snow days” by using two days at the end of the school year and three e-learning days.
Corporations have several options to make up the days, including using holidays, pre-established snow flex days, professional development days or Saturdays. They may also add days to the end of the school year calendar or add instructional time to the end of the school day until the missed time is made up. E-learning is yet another option — one that must be approved by the Indiana Department of Education.
“There’s going to be dissent no matter how we approach it,” said Superintendent Scott Robison, who sent a survey to parents and fielded phone calls and emails on the matter.
Ultimately, the board accepted a hybrid plan combining in-school days and e-learning days. If the IDOE approves the plan, the two in-school make-up days will be May 29 — a teacher day — and May 30 — a built-in make-up day.
The e-learning days would be Saturdays — March 8, March 22 and April 12 — because the DOE requires 1:1 replacement days, Robison explained. But teachers will release assignments a week in advance and be available that week for assistance so students — and parents — can plan their study time around activities. Completed assignments must be turned in the Monday following the designated e-learning Saturday.
“I don’t think our students will have any trouble with this,” Robison said. “The big people seem to have more trouble with it.”
He pointed out students already do much work on their computers. The superintendent also said many eventualities have been taken into consideration so all students have access to both their teachers and a computer throughout the process; the e-learning experience is adapted appropriately to grade level; and modifications will be made for students with individualized education programs.
“Learning starts and ends with the teachers in the classroom,” said Zionsville West Middle School Principal Kris Devereaux.
Teachers already are creating the e-assignments and making them as interactive and engaging as possible.
Robison said he’ll submit the ZCS proposal to the DOE right away and hopes to hear back within a short time.
“The application is pretty straightforward,” he said. “I expect them to expedite it.”