School districts begin tough task of dealing with missed days

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Submitted: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 12:25am
Updated: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 2:30am

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Students around the area missed nearly a week of school thanks to the threat and eventual arrival of snow and ice last week, but state laws about the school calendar make rescheduling that missed time a challenge for administrators.

“North Carolina has very strict calendar laws that dictate when school can start and when school can stop,” Brunswick County Schools spokeswoman Jessica Swencki said.

Rep. Frank Iler (R-17th District) says several years ago the state increased the number of days students must spend in the classroom.

“There is a theory that more hours and more days make better instruction,” Iler said. “I am not sure that has been proven.”

Monday district leaders in Brunswick County decided to change teacher workdays scheduled for Feb. 13 and 14 to school days. They say they will meet with principals next week to decide the best course of action to make up the other missed days.

“School systems have 185 days or 1,025 hours of instructional time, and they have an either/or situation,” Iler said. “They can manipulate the calendar to make up those days.”

That’s what Bladen County did by changing a teacher workday Friday, April 18, to a school day and adding 12 minutes for students and 16 minutes for staff each day starting next Monday through the end of the school year June 11.

In Brunswick County, the district has already taken Saturdays off the table as a possibility.

“And we also recognize that because the calendar is really a tool for planning, that a lot of families have already booked vacations or have plans for Spring Break,” Swencki said.

A New Hanover County Schools spokeswoman says the district hopes to have an answer on its make-up days tomorrow. There’s also no word yet from other area school districts.

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20 Comments on "School districts begin tough task of dealing with missed days"

2015 years 8 months ago

I grew up with 180 days of school per year and I graduated with a good education. It isn’t the number of days that is the issue, it is the way the time is used. It is also that the focus of the system is wrong. The teachers teach to the test. I don’t blame the teachers for that, it is just the way that the schools here seem to work now.

2015 years 8 months ago

The staff at the schools just found out that they are getting deducted 4 days of their annual leave for missing these “snow” days but yet they still have to make them up just like the kids. If they miss the make up days, they get another leave day deducted. These were not optional work days, these were 4 days where the school was closed for Staff and Students due to not being able to get to work. The building were CLOSED! Now staff is down 4 leave days in which they were not told about until after the fact.

2015 years 8 months ago

I have been saying all along that the U.S., in order to remain competitive has to increase the number of school days! 185 is a start – lets go to 195 next but eventually get up to 210 – 220.
Lets face it – kids have to learn so much more these days !! Computer use and programming especially. But they still need the “three R’s” as well.


2015 years 8 months ago

I was really shocked to see how many posters, especially in the WWAY poll, were totally comfortable with blowing off any make up school days. I can understand kids saying that, kids are always looking for a day off from school, but parents? If you’re comfortable doing that you must also be comfortable with failure being an OK thing.

Ask yourself this: Am I comfortable looking at myself in the mirror and saying “I’m OK with my children becoming less and less able to compete in a world that’s becoming more competitive. I’m OK with my children having less opportunity than others if it means I don’t have to inconvenience myself with a few extra school days.”

What’s the point of even having children in the first place if you’re truly comfortable with allowing them to potentially fail rather than put up with a few minor inconveniences?

2015 years 8 months ago

The county officials cannot get around the state laws. If I am not mistaken, a few years ago Brunswick County added on teacher work days to allow make up days for school closings due to weather. They are doing that here. As for the 185 days, that was changed within the past couple of years or so.

I got behind an elementary school bus a couple of weeks ago when I was on the way home from work. A child was being let off. It was 6:30 pm. That is absolutely ridiculous. The elementary kids get home late enough without making them stay any later. We got lucky in that our youngest finished elementary school last year and doesn’t have to deal with the later schedule here.

2015 years 8 months ago

I thought school was 180 days, When did it move to 185?? If that is the case then the ice storm should be forgot about and excuse the kids from school. The kids can’t control the weather and making the school days long is not a good idea. My kids don’t get off the bus until 4:45 as is it. I think the county needs to figure this out but don’t need to be putting the kids in the middle of this. Like I said the kids can’t control the weather and the school should always have a gap incase of something was to happen like this. They never plan ahead and then say they have to be in school for 185 days I think not!!!

2015 years 8 months ago

Then there are more forgiving people who aren’t sweating it. We know what she meant.

Keryn Munson
2015 years 8 months ago

For all of you who are quick to comment on the comments, I am a teacher in North Carolina. I teach in a district where the kids are “challenged”. Do you really think four days will matter? Do you think they will learn to read and write better in those four days? Four days with the children I teach does not matter, they need four years of rigorous instruction and a change in attitude among the community for their education to change. Lets get real and not blame the weather or the teachers. Kids can read at home…they don’t.

2015 years 8 months ago

Who cares if anybody “knows what she meant”? Don’t you find it the least bit ironic that the majority of those recommending “no makeup days” are the very ones that can’t even write a comprehendable sentence? There’s a definite relationship going on here. Pay attention!

2015 years 8 months ago

I thought that school was 180 days. When did we make it 185.. What is wrong with going to school longer on the days Monday to Thursday?????

Guest Mechanic
2015 years 8 months ago

If this is so difficult for school leaders to figure out, maybe we need some new faces making decisions regarding our schools. Pretty simple situation…….either Saturday or extend the school year. Sounds pretty simple to me. So sad that every time something deviates from the norm, a crisis emerges. We need someone who can actually think outside the box.

2015 years 8 months ago

why not do like s.c and forgive them days

2015 years 8 months ago

Your suggestion speaks so well coming from a person that not only appears incapable of constructing one simple sentence with less than 6 errors, but most likely didn’t even spell their own name correctly!

2015 years 8 months ago

Somewhere there is an English teacher crying as she/he tries to decipher what you just wrote.

2015 years 8 months ago

Your elected officials in the state legislature are the ones who extended the student year to 185 days. They are also the ones who make the rules about when those 185 days happen. If you are unhappy about this situation, please let them know. This is state law created and passed by your elected officials. Voting matters!

Angry Bob
2015 years 8 months ago

Students attend school for 7 hours each day. Take away 30 minutes for lunch and that is 6 and 1/2 hours of instructional time. State law mandates students attend school for 185 days OR 1025 hours. The 1025 hours can be achieved by going to school for 158 days.

Why do we need to makeup any days? Our neighbors in South Carolina aren’t making up any days due to missed school. Oh, I almost forgot, South Carolina ranks ahead of us in their educational system as well as teacher pay.

Any questions?

2015 years 8 months ago

America is losing its academic edge in a world that’s becoming more and more competitive and your solution is to pretend a day is actually two days?

Instead of pretending you have a viable solution by pulling one out of your behind, why don’t you just come out and say that you don’t feel education is important enough to worry about?

That still wouldn’t be right, but at least it would be honest.

(Oh, by the way, using your one day equals two days formula, I hope you realize that you’ll only live half as long because time will be going twice as fast.)

2015 years 8 months ago

If they go on February 13&14 then the board should consider that each of those days are like 2 half days in one day. That would cover the 4 days they missed in 2 days and wouldn’t cause any more problems trying to squeeze in make up days

2015 years 8 months ago

The number of days changed a couple of years ago as part of the Common Core Initiative. Our students now go 185 days and have for a couple of years. Apparently, most of you are unaware of the challenge our country is facing with our schools and students falling behind other countries. The common core is an attempt to get us back to where we used to be – ahead of other countries, so that we will be able to compete globally in the business world. Most other countries (smart countries) have their students attend more days per year, and for longer hours each day than our students. Also, the state mandates the school calendar, including the earliest that school can begin and end each year. Part of this is due to the tourism industry wanting to make sure that families can take vacations and travel during the summer, for the important revenue that our state generates from families taking vacations. So, yes, the school systems’ hands are tied and they do have difficult decisions to make. Hopefully, they will make a decision that most will be happy with, since it is impossible to be please everyone, particularly some parents that have posted comments, who apparently are encouraging their children to be lazy and not take responsibility, even though the snow and ice was no one’s fault. It still has to be dealt with. I for one, want my child to succeed no matter what the cost. But, that is why my child is now in private school. I am sick of dealing with the slack parents and their products.

2015 years 8 months ago

Interesting to see comments like, “Don’t take it out on the kids”… And “It’s not their fault”…

Really? The law states what it states. We have other countries making laps against us and our worries are “we have to make up a couple of days”.

Good Lord help us.