The Oregon school board on Tuesday approved a plan that helps make up school days that were cancelled due to the harsh winter weather in the 2013-14 school year.
The Ohio Legislature for weeks had debated whether or not to allow additional calamity days for school districts because most have exhausted the legal five day allotment. The Legislature finally passed legislation last week that granted four more days.
“We put together a plan as soon as we had word that it had passed,” said Superintendent Lonny Rivera. “We had many ideas for a number of weeks, then we were actually happy to get this moving.”
The plan calls for the school day to be extended by half an hour at Clay High School, Fassett Junior High School and Eisenhower Intermediate School. .
“Just to let all our parents know, the starting times for Clay, Fassett and Eisenhower will be the same time you’re used to, but will end a half hour later,” said Rivera.
Coy, Jerusalem and Starr Elementary schools will start 15 minutes earlier and end 15 minutes later than their regular schedule.
The new times are:
- Clay High School, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.;
- Fassett Junior High School, 7:40 a.m. to 2:40 p.m.;
- Eisenhower Intermediate School, 7:40 a.m. to 2:40 p.m.;
- Coy, Jerusalem and Starr Elementary schools, 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.
For seniors at Clay, the date of graduation is unchanged at June 8.
The new schedule will become effective on Tuesday, March 26.
“With any plan you make up, I’m well aware that it’s not always going to fit into everyone’s best plans, but a lot of thought went into this. We do need to spend more time with our students,” said Rivera. “We have a lot of training to do for our students to prepare for their state tests and we want to make sure our students have more time. An hour was out of the question – way too long. So we believe this is good.”
In addition, the district will extend the school year by two days to June 5, said Rivera.
“Barring any fog days or anything else, which we’re hoping we do not have, right now we have two days beyond our calendar to complete. I think that’s very doable for most people, most families. I think it’s a good balance for what we were able to come up with.”
School Board President P.J. Kapfhammer said there were other options that were considered, such as “Blizzard Bags,” which allow students to complete classroom lesson assignments at home when school is cancelled.
“I think our staff, administration, and board, educationally decided that Blizzard Bags were a solution but not something we wanted to follow. You could throw a bunch of work at kids and they could probably get it done, but they won’t absorb anything along the way,” said Kapfhammer.
“And you don’t know who does it,” said Board Member Carol Molnar.
“They’re doing the regular homework and now the parents are doing the Blizzard Bags,” he said. “If not, you lose the kids. So this is a decision that a lot of effort went into. Everyone came together and we decided what was best educationally for your kids. While it isn’t a perfect plan, it does put education first.”
“Now that this is passed, we will be putting out a notice to our parents through our instant alert system so they will know,” said Rivera.