The Canal Winchester Times

Groveport district won't need to extend school year

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After a wild winter and 11 snow days, Groveport Madison school district officials have announced what they believe will be the last day of school this year.

Thanks to changes approved by Ohio lawmakers March 12, school districts may use four additional calamity days this year if they make up four days of classes first. That means the last day of school in the Groveport Madison district will remain May 29.

The four extra calamity days are in addition to the five calamity days originally allowed under state law.

For Groveport Madison students, this will mean they get their spring break back April 21-25. Originally, district officials anticipated they would have to shorten spring break and add instruction days at the end of the year to make up time lost when bad weather forced classes to be cancelled. That won't be necessary now since the school board approved the use of "blizzard bags."

The district will use three days' worth of the blizzard bag program, in which students are given additional homework to make up for missed classroom time.

During the March 12 school board meeting, Director of School Improvement Monique Hamilton said that because of the missed school days, she is working to adjust grading windows for the third and fourth nine-week periods to allow students more time to complete assignments and tests, and provide teachers additional time to complete the grading.

"For our Ohio Achievement Assessment, we have through Friday, May 16, to get that completed," Hamilton said. "I worked through this to give us an extra week, but our make-up assessments will still be completed by that Monday (May 12) so we'll be well within the deadline Ohio gives us."

Superintendent Bruce Hoover said in addition to instructional work, committee work has also been put behind schedule due to the missed school days. However, he said, he felt confident that planned pilot programs, particularly new science instruction options using a combination of digital materials and textbooks, will be ready for board action by April.

"We want to make sure the teachers have time to make sure these meet the quality and rigor they expect, so we should have that to (the board) by April for approval, so that we can start lesson-planning over the summer," Hoover said.

Also March 12, the school board approved the 2014-2015 school district calendar. It will be similar to this year's calendar, except the last day of winter vacation will be Friday, Jan. 2, 2015, to avoid the expense of opening the school for one day before a weekend. Instead, students will return from winter vacation on Monday, Jan. 5, 2015.

The first day of school for the 2014-2015 school year is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 20, with the last day of school scheduled Wednesday, June 15, 2015.

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