Time precious for teachers prepping students for ISTEP

Schools add extra hour (WISH Photo)

MARTINSVILLE, Ind. (WISH) – The Martinsville School District isn’t wasting any time getting its students ready for the ISTEP exams. In fact, it added an extra hour to the school day to help.

Districts across Indiana have been trying to figure ways to make up all the days missed because of the winter weather. Some are adding days on to the end of the year.

But administrators in the Martinsville School District feel that time will have a bigger impact now, rather than later.

For math teacher Todd Conklin, every minute he gets in lab with his students is valuable. So when Mother Nature’s record winter started subtracting that amount of time he got to teach, he was worried. Knowing the ISTEP exams are right around the corner only added more pressure.

“It’s big stakes when the exams come, so it’s a relief that we have that extra time to help them fill in the gaps,” said Conklin.

Starting this past Monday and for the next two weeks, the Martinsville School District will extend the school day by an hour.

Principal Eric Bowlen said back when he was a student, you simply tacked on more days at the end of the year.

“Well now, ISTEP [exams] are a vital part of what school grades are based on. You can’t just put something at the end of the school year because the ISTEP testing is already completed,” he said.

To prepare for the ISTEP, students take short tests that target their weakness and challenge their strengths.

And for Conklin, every extra minute spent in the computer lab equals another chance for his class to succeed.

“What do we do with this hour, how do we make it most productive in trying to get ready for the ISTEP and you know it’s big stakes, it means a lot. So hopefully we’re doing what we can to be ready,” Conklin said.

Martinsville isn’t the only district adding more time. Carmel Clay schools will extend its school day by an hour from March 6th until then end of the school year. And just like Martinsville, each school in that district can distribute and use that time however it prefers.

To see how other districts throughout central Indiana are making up the missed days, click here.

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