Local News

March 4, 2014

Whitfield decides on makeup days

— Parents with students in the Whitfield County Schools system need to look at their calendars today and possibly make some changes, school officials said.

Members of the Whitfield Board of Education voted at their Monday night meeting to extend Wednesday, March 12, from an early dismissal day to a full day of class, and to add Friday, March 28, as a full makeup day to get back some lost time after recent bad weather.

The Georgia Board of Education approved in late February allowing local school leaders to decide how to handle up to nine days lost due to two winter weather systems that impacted much of the state earlier this year. Whitfield students missed eight days due to the storms.

Teachers and staff members will make up one training day after school ends on Friday, May 23, unless a school’s principal prefers making it up on a different day, Superintendent Judy Gilreath said.

“I want the principals to be able to use this as they need it in the individual schools,” she said. “I’m leaving it up to them on how to use it.”

Teachers will also be able to make up up to three missed days if they document work outside the regular school day, including hours when they came to school early to prepare for class or stayed late for school meetings. Six hours of extra work will be considered a full day, Gilreath added.

“They will turn in that documentation to the principals,” she said. “Sometimes teachers have to come in for PTA meetings. I know a lot of them work some days before school starts to (get ahead of the workload) and weren’t being paid for those days.”

Gilreath said she had to strike a balance between getting back some missed time for instruction without overburdening teachers and students. She said she didn’t support adding time in the beginning or end of the school day.

“I know some systems have added on minutes to the beginning and the end of the school day,” Gilreath said. “We have looked at our instructional minutes and we have a longer day already compared to a lot of systems around us. The high schools are banking three hours a week over what most systems do. It’s not that we can’t use all the instructional minutes. Goodness knows we need them. But our kids already have a long day.”

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