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Coweta to make up 1 of 5 missed ice days, 5 minutes at a time

The week-long closure of Coweta County schools and nearly all others in north Georgia two weeks ago due to the Winter Storm of 2011 meant that school systems needed to decide how many days to make up and how to do it. With four storm days built in to the 180-day school cycle, the Coweta County School System decided to make up the fifth day by adding five minutes to school days beginning Jan. 31.

The Coweta County School System was closed Jan. 10-14 due to icy weather and hazardous driving conditions throughout the week. A total of five school days were missed in what was the most weather-impacting winter storm since 1993. 

Though state law calls for schools to be open for 180 days, the law also includes a provision allowing up to four days per year to be used as emergency days at the school system’s discretion.

As a result of the closures, the decision was made for the Coweta County School System will make up the time missed by adding five minutes to the school day beginning Jan. 31, Superintendent Blake Bass said last week.

“Therefore, only one day, or its equivalent, must be made up at this point,” Bass said in a letter to parents. “In order to make up the required time and in order to minimize disruptions to family schedules, we will add five minutes to the school day beginning (Monday) Jan. 31. The additional five minutes will be added to the beginning of the instructional day.”

For the remainder of the 2010-11 school year, start times for grade levels will be:

• 7:55 a.m. for elementary school

• 8:25 a.m. for middle and high schools

School system spokesperson Dean Jackson said parents are asked to make arrangements to have car riders at school before the start times listed above. Parents will be notified if bus routes change on a case by case basis.

Bass said that the school system will use this method rather than making up an entire day during winter or spring break because: 

• Many families have already planned trips for winter break and have money invested that is non-refundable. 

• At the beginning of the school day, many schools use a few minutes to make announcements and have advisement throughout the year. 

• With Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) based partly on student attendance, adding make-up days to holiday weeks will be reserved as a last resort. Often, such make-up days result in high absenteeism.

“Any future days missed due to inclement weather will require additional procedures for making up missed instructional time. This may include being forced to use holidays as make-up days,” said Bass.



Then the rubbish Fayette came up with.

Coweta only 1. Much easier to add for 1 day. Face it, pleasing everyone is next to impossible.

Coweta's decision is much more laughable in my humble opinion. It accomplishes NOTHING.

The Wedge's picture

They added the three days in the middle of the scheduled winter break and then told everybody, including teachers, that if they had something better to do then go do it. I have heard that many are and now I am in a catch 22 as a parent. They are also talking of combining classes instead of using a lot of substitutes. Anecdotally, I have heard of one school that has only 1 teacher in a particular grade willing to come in those three days. If they only bring in one subsitute for 3 teachers and do not require a lesson plan, then what kind of education is going to be given on those days? Either way seems to be a collosial waste

But at least they tried something. Folks were on these very blogs ranting/raving about the days needing to be made up...."they've had their winter break" I read. Fact is, you can't please folks.

Adding 5 minutes a day to make up one day is laughable to me. Telling kids they don't have to come to school is just as laughable, but at least they will have 3 days of school. There was probably no good solution.

The Wedge's picture

to a bad situation. Schedule the days during the winter break and tell people that it is no different than any other day of school. Require lesson plans, excuses, etc. Do not publically countenance blowing off school if you have somehting better to do. I grew up in the north and was in grade school during the blizzards of the 70's. I didn't even know that there was a spring break until I was in fourth grade. It is funny to think about now, but our parents reacted better back then to adversity.

that money paid upfront for Cruises/vacations was gone down the drain. I know a Teacher at Whitewater, and he knew of MANY folks who have already paid for these things. Too me, that is a big burden to lay on folks, making them eat the non refundable monies.

I have lived in the Southern Crescent my entire life, and we flat out don't have the equipment to clear roads of ice like "folks up north do".

I remember missing days in Clayton County back in the 70' seems we usually made up the days at the end of the year...but I'm getting kinda old and my memory fades. :)

The Wedge's picture

I am okay with that too. Tack the days to the end of the school year and make them count. Do not schedule blow off days without a lesson plan. Do not sit the kids in a study hall and tell them to bring a book to read and call it school.

Look at Coweta's elem start time - wish Fayette was still 8:00am for elem. 7:45am is so early for the little ones!

Are you saying that if a person buys a non-refundable pleasure trip and then something else comes up (anything) that it is wrong to require him to serve on juries, go to his grandmother's funeral, etc.?

Anyway, one can buy cancellation insurance or sell the tickets possibly. Most agencies are very cooperative about this sort of thing unless the person got a huge discount in some fashion!

Everyone wasn't in the position of being able to purchase such vacations, but they would have liked to travel to see MOM!

A good way to detect a good boss (does what he is paid to do) is to see how he handles such things as this which is fair to all.

Fayette is trying to have their cake and eat it too...

Listen to the Podcast of the BOE meeting. Even the Super (who proposed the stupid idea) indicated the days were of questionable academic value.. and that the schools would have to do the best they can.

Take for example the 6th grade class which fast tracked and now has a FIELD TRIP planned for one of those days. Students can't make that up. Take the elementary school which has para-pro's babysitting classes and swapping out a certified teacher for only an hour or two to make the state requirements.

We have a cruise booked over Winter Break, so no, my daughter will not be in school. Yes, we have cancellation insurance, but when I called and asked if we were eligible for a refund, I was informed that no, this was not a covered situation. So unless someone wants to cough up all the money we would lose...HUSH!

Well, these cancellation insurance policies are tricky (as are all business contracts anymore) but one can buy whatever you are wllling to pay for!

I don't usually buy anything "non-refundable!" At least until the last week or so. Then at a penalty.

Will you deal with whomever bought this cruise for you again? Was it you?

My take, as a teacher, is that the makeup stance Fayette's BOE has taken is about money and the appearance of being earnest about education. Public education is a political arena.

This is about money, and play acting.

For the lip service about putting children first, this is a sham.

......the absolute worst, worthless decision ever made about anything!!

Instead of having school one day more and get it over with, screw up thousands of schedules for 96 days!

Not only that but who really thinks that instruction will actually start exactly five minutes early? At the beginning of the day also (7:55 AM for babies)instead of being tacked on to the end of the day.

Will lesson plans have an entry for those first 5 minutes?

This is actually embarrassing either to the poor leadership of the Superintendent or for the stupid judgment of all those wanting a whole day off at the expense of the students learning! They aren't learning much now.

Mercy, can't that be reversed and save all of the terrible laughter coming.
Even the state will decide this is robbery!

How can our teachers who are so under paid and under appreciated afford to go on cruises???? Based on the ranting over the last year I thought all the Fayette teachers were losing their houses and eating dog food because of the pay cut to already lower than market pay. How can they afford to go on a cruise???

Thats how you go on a cruise vacation. Cruises are cheap due to the economy. Lots cheaper than going to a resort. Travel is more educational than a few hours of lost classroom time. Think about the 5 minutes a day coweta is adding on to pay back their time. A lot of good that will do. Its a joke but it pacifies the state.

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