Iowa schools are making up winter cancellation hours where they can

Iowa (KWQC) - The snow and ice mean school cancellations once again, so schools are doing all they can to make up the hours where possible.

Some Iowa schools are adding hours in different ways, trying to maximize the days they have when the weather does cooperate. Administrators from Central Dewitt and Pleasant Valley Schools say it isn't ideal, but a few tweaks to the schedule here and there could help cut down on an extended school year.

“In all these things, there is no perfect trade off at all, there is no perfect solution,” said P.V. Superintendent, Jim Spelhaug.

Half days for teacher development are being turned into full days at Central Dewitt and Pleasant Valley Schools - in an attempt to make up some hours lost from cancellations.

“What we use the early outs for that we have once a month is to extend group related topics, so that's where it dings us more than anything,” added Spelhaug.

Spelhaug says they still have a teacher leadership system that works with their faculty, though, which won't be impacted by these changed days.

“Their development and training is just not going away because of what we do with this,” he said. “There's a fairly wide suite of activities that we do for professional development and the early out days is just one piece of that.”

At Central Dewitt schools, they've added 15 minutes to the beginning and end of each day. Their Assistant Superintendent, Jen Vance, says it's about being creative with making sure their teachers still get those development hours.

“We need to be creative, we'll absorb that into other times we have them all together. We do Thursday morning team meetings where all of our teachers will have a sacred time to meet with their teams so some of that will just be transposed into that time.”

Instead of a main group meeting, administrators will be using other resources to address individual grades.

"One meeting would have taken care of it in the past, now we might have to do it for every team,” said Vance. “But it's worth it.”

Both schools say their school boards decided addressing the student days first was important. They know come mid to late June students won't be as focused in a class as they normally would. Sprinkling teacher development time throughout regular days is the best way to make up on lost hours.

In Illinois, school districts don't have to worry about the missed hours because there's a limit. Once a school makes up for 5 cancellation days, they don't have to make up for any more.