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CCSD Will Meet Student Needs, Address Time Lost To Weather

Plan will not include make-up days or longer school days.

Due to extreme cold, ice and/or snow, all Cobb County schools were closed a total of six days in January and February. Credit: Patch file
Due to extreme cold, ice and/or snow, all Cobb County schools were closed a total of six days in January and February. Credit: Patch file
From the Cobb County School District:

Cobb County schools are mobilizing to address lost instructional time due to a recent bout of inclement weather. Due to extreme cold, ice and/or snow, all Cobb County schools were closed a total of six days: January 7, 29, 30 and 31, and February 11 and 12. 

The Georgia Department of Education has announced that schools are not required to make up the missed days in late January and February because these events were declared states of emergency. 

Even though Cobb missed one fewer day than many metro school systems due to previously scheduled furloughs, and even though the time that was missed is not required to be made up, school district leadership nevertheless considered all options available to address the lost instructional time.

Those options included adding additional days to the end of the school year, shortening spring break, and/or lengthening the school day by adding minutes to beginning or end of remaining school days. Each of these proposals have inherent challenges in that both staff and student family commitments for the designated times most likely would impact the fidelity and instructional benefit of implementation.

Additionally, adding school days would require shifting Cobb’s testing window, scheduled for April 23-May 2, which in turn would reduce test make-up opportunities and place a tremendous scheduling burden on schools. Instead, leadership in Cobb schools will address the snow days by utilizing all available resources to maximize remaining instructional time.

Each school will present a plan that outlines how it will supplement the instructional deficit caused by the loss of instructional days. 

The following is a preliminary list of possible opportunities and solutions for schools to provide additional instructional support for their students to account for the loss of school days: 

• Maximize instructional time with a specific emphasis on minimizing any disruption to instruction (assemblies, long recesses, etc.);
• Restrict scheduling of new field trips;
• Postpone all non-critical teacher professional learning;
• Focus instructional planning to address high impact standards;
• Review pacing guides and adjust accordingly;
• Offer tutoring opportunities before and after school for students who need assistance;
• Provide meaningful homework assignments and study guides – incorporate technology enhanced instruction;
• Maximize use of technology including postings on teacher blogs and flipped classroom instructional recordings;
• Offer an optional Saturday School where needed or appropriate;
• Maximize 20-day funds to support students needing additional assistance;
• Promote grade level teachers to form flexible groups based on specific skill readiness as needed;
• Reformat specials scheduled in elementary school to allow for more time in core content areas. Utilize specialists to support core content, school student achievement accountability areas; 
• Provide information for parents to access the Online Assessment System (OAS) to help their student practice for the CRCT;
• Utilize flexibility of staff not connected to classrooms or core subject areas to assist with small group remediation;
• Open the computer lab and media centers before and after school so that students access Skills Tutor, Study Island, and other instructional software;
 
"We have the highest level of confidence in our schools and their exceptional teaching staffs to address our number one priority, which is student achievement,” said Superintendent Michael Hinojosa. "I believe that with careful planning by our school leaders and commitment by our teachers, we can address the time our students were out of the classroom in a way that is more acceptable to parents and staff." 

The specific plans each school will implement must consider materials and resources needed, transportation issues, the timeline and frequency of interventions, and ensuring that parents and the local school community are informed and involved.

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