The State Board of Education approved Thursday a recommendation by Secretary of Education Mark Murphy to forgive up to six school days lost because of inclement weather.
The BOE's decision to forgive the six days may impact the Smyrna School Board's decision Wednesday night to make up two more snow days at the end of the year.
The Smyrna BOE voted Wednesday to make June 3 and June 4 full days followed by half days. The two make-up days in addition to Smyrna's previous decision to use the March 28 and May 2 inservice days as pupil days would've enabled the district to make up four of the 10 days missed from snow.
At the time, Smyrna School District officials hoped some of the time missed would be forgiven but weren't expecting the state to forgive so many days.
Smyrna School District Curriculum Director Dr. Sandy Shalk said Friday morning that the state's decision to forgive up to six days may change the Smyrna School Board's previous decision to add two more days.
"Because of the forgiven days, the decision to add more two more pupil days is under consideration," Shalk said. "District administrators will meet Monday and will be able to provide updated information after. For now the make-up days are under review."
The state is forgiving up to six days, but Smyrna only requested five days to be forgiven - Jan. 3, Jan. 22, Feb. 13, March 3, and March 17. Each of these days were declared a State of Emergency or closed state offices by Gov. Jack Markell.
In a statement released by the Department of Ed, Murphy said his decision was made after balancing the significant need of quality instructional time with the safety challenges faced this winter due to the weather. He also urges better planning in the future to end the need for state "forgiveness" of weather delays.
“The adults in our educational system – the teachers, the counselors, the school leaders – they all rely on time to help facilitate their work, their learning, their planning and their reflection. And it is these things that subsequently drive the outcomes we all seek for our children,” Murphy said. “While the outcomes are improving, they also are sobering when looking at the number of children who do not show success at the end of high school."
State law requires students in districts and charter schools to receive the minimum number of hours required: 1,060 hours for kindergarten through 11th grade and 1,032 for grade 12.
The Smyrna School District was in a unique situation this year in that students in the district actually have a longer school day; therefore, upwards of 75 hours were banked. A total of 74.5 hours were lost from school closings and weather delays so the district technically didn't have to add make-up days into the school calendar.
Shalk told the school board Wednesday night that the proposal to make up two more days was recommended to make up lost instructional time.
“I know this has been a difficult year and I know you want to make a good decision for the students,” Shalk said. “If we gain two full days we can be productive.”
The district will meet Monday to further discuss the school calendar for this school year, at which an update will be given.