Indian River School District (IRSD) officials recently made an adminstrative decision to extend the school day by 30 minutes at all of its schools to make up for eight weather-related closures this winter.
The irony was not lost on us that it was scheduled to begin this past Monday, but didn’t actually get rolling until Tuesday because snow kept the children home again Monday, but that’s not entirely surprising with the way this long and brutal winter has gone. There was a lot of speculation that the District would extend the school year a few days to make up for lost time, but IRSD Board President Charles Bireley explained that kids in middle school and high school often have summer jobs, and they didn’t want students to miss out on opportunities to work over the summer.
Also, there’s the little matter of the AP testing.
“They haven’t moved the AP testing,” said Board Member Doug Hudson. “They haven’t moved the testing at the end of the year. Teachers’ livelihoods ... depend on the test. Those days don’t move. So we need the extra classroom time right now.”
“The state test, that is so important for some people,” added Bireley. “The teachers have missed seven days of instruction to prepare for that.”
It was seven days when Bireley was quoted for our article. Monday’s snow made it eight days the teachers have to make up for now before the testing begins.
It has also left a mark on athletics. At Indian River High School, sports practice will now end at 5:30 p.m. instead of 5 p.m. Games have already been scheduled, and often rescheduled due to weather this winter, so student-athletes will have to leave school early to participate in those games. However, Indian River Athletic Director Todd Fuhrmann is filled with perspective, and knows sports can not rule the day.
“I think it’s good for testing purposes, instead of adding days on,” he said. “And the athletic part of it can be worked around.”
Yes, it can all be worked around, and must be worked around. It’s good to see the IRSD being proactive and using foresight.