The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest News

January 25, 2014

Snow days will impact school calendars

Friday was “snow day No. 9” in Greenbrier, Fayette, Summers and Wyoming counties.

For those who are counting snow days — superintendents, teachers, bus drivers and parents — Friday marked the first snow day this academic year that exceeded the eight days most county school officials had built into the calendar as make-up days for lost instruction time.

Several administrators around the region explained that snow days aren’t about giving teachers extra vacation days but rather about protecting student and employee safety.

“There’s no superintendent that wants to have school closed, but safety is an incredible factor,” said Greenbrier County Schools Superintendent Sallie Dalton. “In Greenbrier County, we have 72 bus runs, and two-thirds of the roads are secondary roads.”

Greenbrier school buses alone, when the routes are totaled, travel the distance between Lewisburg to San Francisco and back to St. Louis on a daily basis while transporting students to and from county schools, reported Dalton.

“We cover a lot of territory,” she said. “Safety is a priority, always.”

Wyoming Schools Assistant Superintendent Deidre Cline said that in her county, the majority of the children rely on public transportation — county school buses — to get them to and from school safely.

This can present a safety concern to those waiting at outdoor bus stops when polar vortex temperatures invade the region, she said.

“The weather we’ve been having has been extremely unusual,” she said. “It’s not just been uncomfortable, it’s been dangerous.

“If you see those little kids standing in those hollow roads, you’ll understand,” added Cline. “We run a lot of buses, and student safety has been our primary concern.”

County superintendents said plans are in place this year to deal with the lost instructional days.

Summers County students will have a shortened spring break, according to  Superintendent Vickie Hinerman.

Hinerman said March 31 and April 1 will be regular school days instead of spring break, as previously scheduled.

“Their spring break will be shortened to Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of that week,” she said.

Hinerman added that Summers students’ last day of school will still be May 28, in accordance with state guidelines.

Greenbrier County schools have added instructional minutes per day in order to compensate for snow days — thanks to the foresight of board members who enacted the policy around 40 years ago, said Dalton.

Greenbrier students have 2,000 to 7,000 annual instructional minutes past the instructional minutes the state requires each academic year, she said.

“They added time into the instructional day to help compensate for where we’ve missed days to snow,” said Dalton. “What we’ve done is extended our school day just by a little bit beyond what’s required.

“So that might just be 15 minutes a day, which doesn’t seem like much, but when you add that up over the course of the year, you see what happens.

“We don’t have to come back in the middle of the school year and start adding time.”

Fayette County Schools Food Services Director David Seay said the school calendar this year doesn’t offer options past using up eight days that are built into the calendar as possible make-up days.

Seay also assists the superintendent in developing the academic calendar.

“We can’t do anything other than try to hold school whenever we can,” he said. “There are two or three instructional support enhancement days in February and April and June, and those days can be converted to instructional days.

“It’s just a decision that could be made,” he said, adding that board members and the superintendent would officially decide.

Next academic year, however, Seay explained, schools will have to provide 180 instructional days, regardless of the number of snow days.

“We’re looking forward to next year’s calendar and the impact it’s going to have on the students,” said Seay. We feel like it’s a good thing for them in making sure they get all their 180 days of instruction.”

Dalton advised that each county school board will hold two public meetings for community input prior to passing a school calendar for next year, under state law.

A spokesman for Raleigh County Schools was not available.

 

1
Text Only
Latest News
  • legion VIDEO: American Legion posts plan to merge

    To help deal with its decreasing membership numbers, Beckley American Legion Post 70 is planning a merger with Post 32.

    “We see the benefit for both of us and for Raleigh County,” Post 32 Adjutant Frank Cook said. “Right now Post 70 is having membership problems and with membership problems comes financial problems.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tri-state coal interests rally before hearings

     More than 2,000 union workers and others organized by the coal industry in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia joined top state elected officials Wednesday to rally against proposed stricter federal pollution regulations for coal-burning power plants.

    July 31, 2014

  • legal Tort reform group brings message to Beckley

    How can West Virginia create more jobs and have a better business climate, at no cost to taxpayers?

    Greg Thomas, executive director of the West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (WV CALA), says legal reform is one of the answers to that question.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • ‘Biscuit guy’ makes his mark with anthem at TWV

    The old saying “being at the right place at the right time” couldn’t be more true for Calvin Alexander.

    Thanks to a salad dressing bottle (and some impressive vocal skills), Alexander was invited to sing the national anthem not once, but twice, at Theatre West Virginia before the opening of “Hatfields and McCoy

    July 31, 2014

  • Judge in W.Va. asked to delay gay marriage ruling

    Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has asked a judge to postpone ruling on a federal lawsuit challenging West Virginia's same-sex marriage ban until the U.S. Supreme Court reviews a ruling in a similar case in Virginia.

    July 30, 2014

  • Tri-state coal interests rally before EPA hearings

    More than 2,000 union workers and others organized by the coal industry in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia joined top state elected officials Wednesday to rally against proposed stricter federal pollution regulations for coal-burning power plants.

    July 30, 2014

  • Work continues on stand-alone Warrior Trail

    The executive director of the Hatfield and McCoy Trail Authority said Tuesday that officials are still working toward the creation of the stand-alone Warrior Trail in McDowell County.

    July 30, 2014

  • East River Mountain Tunnel repairs will continue for several weeks

    Motorists traveling Interstate 77 could see slight delays again tonight as repair work continues inside of the fire-damaged East River Mountain Tunnel.

    July 30, 2014

  • State leaders to attend coal rally in Pittsburgh

    West Virginia officials are set to join hundreds of coal miners and coal supporters at an electricity and energy jobs rally.

    July 30, 2014

  • Americans continue to be plagued by debt

    Credit card debt may have reached its lowest level in a decade, but according to a recent study on personal debt vs. income, just as more people are paying off their credit card debt monthly, nearly the same number of people are being reported for unpaid bills. 

    July 30, 2014