INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Students across Indiana have missed anywhere from three to 11 school days because of the snow and extreme cold temperatures. Schools must make them up.
The Department of Education says districts have several options. They can hold classes on holidays and Saturdays. They can tack classes onto the end of the school year. They can add extra instructional time to the school day. A small handful of districts even qualify to hold virtual learning classes where the students attend class over the internet.
The different options have their own advantages and disadvantages.
Attending classes on what would normally be a holiday and/or adding days to the end of the school year may be the easiest way for districts to make up classes. But it may not be the most popular. In LaPorte, seniors will graduate and then head back to class.
“We will have to graduate two days before we actually get to leave school. It means will we get some blank diplomas to force us to come back to school. And then the last two days of school [we're] still taking our tests and that,” said LaPorte High School senior Jordi Saunders.
Some school district leaders don’t like the idea of adding days to the end of the year. They say little learning actually gets done.
“We would rather go ahead and look at increasing instructional time during the school year right now so we can better prepare students for the statewide exam,” said MSD Decatur Township Superintendent Matt Prusiecki.
When it comes to adding extra instructional time, the Department of Education came up with this make-up day formula: Five extra hours of instruction gets you one make up day for grades 1 through 6. Six extra hours for grades 7 through 12.
A handful of districts have already announced plans to add extra time to the school day. It’s an option that works for some, but creates challenges for others.
“That could work. I didn’t think about that. I was just thinking about the week,” said parent Jennifer Hicks.
“I actually am employed and that would mess up a little bit my schedule. I also have other things, extracurricular, outside school activity. It would just kind of mess it up a little I would have to drop something because my school would take priority,” said LaPorte High School senior Jordan Carder.
School districts that opt for adding instruction time to the school day will have to document those extra hours and report them to the Indiana Department of Education in order to get credit for the extra hours in the classroom.
“If a school doesn’t meet the required amount of days they can be subject to a financial penalty where they would have to return some of their state funding. But that is only if they don’t hit the required amount of days,” said DOE spokesperson Daniel Altman.
Click here for a list of school districts who responded to 24-Hour News 8′s request for information on the make-up days.