Winter weather woes

Schools must make up days lost to last month’s snowfall
Feb. 03, 2014 @ 11:16 PM

Most students in the Tri-County had two days off last week because of snow. But, for teachers and administrators, snow days mean making up lost time.
Vance County Schools lost three days to wintry weather in the last two weeks of January.

Spokeswoman Terri Hedrick said the district will make up those days March 3, June 9 and June 10.

“There are no other make-up days built into the calendar at this point,” she wrote in an email. “The Board of Education can always review the calendar and make changes. But, currently these will be the three make-up days. Our school system typically does not make up missed days on Saturdays. Currently, there are no plans to do so. If additional days are missed, the school system will address the needed make-up days at that time.”

District K-2 literacy specialist Arnetra Terry said she requested an extension from the N.C. Department of Public Instruction for state-mandated reading testing for kindergarten through third-grade students.

At L.B. Yancey Elementary School, Assistant Principal Lanisha Daye said some of her teachers were not able to finish the assessment by the state’s initial deadline.

First-grade teacher Tammy Pulliam said unlike some others in the school, she had fewer problems completing testing because she only has 17 students.

The state-mandated Reading 3D test — which is used to determine a student’s reading comprehension — was scheduled for Jan. 6 to Jan. 29 but will be extended through the end of the week.

“Any testing that was scheduled on days missed due to the inclement weather will be made up as soon as possible,” Hedrick wrote of possible testing delays. “There is different testing in different schools. ... There is the possibility that no testing was scheduled in a school on some or all of the days missed.”

Pulliam said Reading 3D requires one-on-one attention with the student through multiple assessments. Each part tests a different skill, such as fluency, phonetic awareness and word recognition.

“It takes a lot of time per student,” she said. “It is time-consuming, but it does give you good data to work with.”

Students took the test at the beginning of the year, and they will do so again at end of the year to assess their growth.

E.O. Young Elementary Principal Marylaura McKoon said her school will take advantage of the extension.

“It’s one of those things that weather and absences can get in the way of,” she said. “It’s tough for teachers when you have all these things you have to work around.”

She said those with large class size who lack teachers’ aides particularly have struggled to make the deadline.

On Jan. 27, her school also began the Read to Achieve assessment, which requires teachers to test third-grade students three times per week until May.

The program is a component of the Excellent Public Schools Act of House Bill 950, which went into effect this school year and requires third-graders to read at or above grade level by the end of the year. Students unable to do so won’t make it into fourth grade next fall.

Students demonstrate reading proficiency based on the score of their end-of-course reading test or with their reading portfolio, which is comprised of the student’s Read to Achieve tests.

One of the charter schools also had to delay testing because of the snow.

Caitlin Dietrich, development director at Henderson Collegiate, said the fifth-, sixth- and seventh-graders finished science benchmark testing on Monday, though it was supposed to be wrap up last week.

While the snow days caused a setback, she said all grades are now caught up.

“Our teachers do an extraordinary job to help our students understand what they are facing, so they don’t lose any time,” Dietrich said.


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