Snow days not a calamity? - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Snow days not a calamity?

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School districts are struggling with the weather and making sure students learn what they need to know.

The the concern over calling too many snow days may be overblown.

So far this winter, Toledo Public Schools have called 8-snow days, 3-more than the district is allowed.

A study argues using snow days is better than keeping schools open during bad weather.

A study argues using snow days is better than keeping schools open during bad weather.

Sometimes snow days are called because of snow; sometimes because of frigid temperatures.

But when schools do not close, some students can't make it to class.  Doctor Cindy Carson, a Literacy Specialist, says, those days are a challenge.

Carson told 13abc's Bill Hormann, "They are frequently lost days.  We show up.  Is there much learning going on?  Honestly, no."

That's the conclusion of a 2012 harvard professor's study which found it is better to call a snow day than to keep schools open during bad weather.

Researcher Joshua Goodman concluded, "Extremely bad weather impacts closures but not achievement."

In other words, by cancelling class *for everyone* you are making sure all students are on the same lesson page when they return to class.

Carson, who has taught classes from the elementary to college level says, "I would much rather close school down, pick it up and move no than teach half my class today, two-thirds of the class tomorrow and most of them the following day."

Some schools are using technology to beat the weather.  This year,  Notre Dame Academy put class lessons online.

Now, students can learn despite snow on the sidewalk.

Malorie Henderson has only attended class 5 days in January and she sees the value of online learning.  "I enjoy it a lot.  Mainly because I get to stay at home and do my homework at my own pace."

Malorie has homework for 8-classes she can access through an iPad.  It's not the same as classtime, but it helps students and teachers.

Gail Christie, an administrator at NDA, says the online lessons are proving valuable.  "It's a good way of keeping them in the pattern of having to work each day and get things done," she says.

And it is one way of not letting the weather interfere with education.

There aren't many ways to make up lost class time.  Making the year longer, or starting it earlier, cuts into family vacation time.

But by calling a snow day, every student is off, and teachers don't have to waste time going over material some students may have missed.

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