Capital School District Extends School Day - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Capital School District Extends School Day

(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

DOVER, Del.- Sixth grader Bryanna Stamas says math isn't her best subject.

"For me, math is difficult, but my teacher helps a lot," said Stamas, a student at William Henry Middle School in Dover.

Starting Monday, she'll have more time for math instruction. That's because the Capital School District has decided to add an additional 20 minutes to the school day to make up for snow days.

District Superintendent Dr. Michael Thomas said students have used five snow days this year, but the district goes by hours, as opposed to other districts that go by days.

For example, adding 20 minutes onto a school day equals about three days, according to Thomas. 

"Our students have missed a little more than 59 hours of instruction time. We have about 33.7 hours to make up," said Thomas.

The district builds in weather contingency days to the school calendar.

"With all this make up time, you want to use it in a productive way during the heart of the school year. If you did it at the end of the year it's really not productive time," said Thomas.

William Henry Middle School principal Toriano Giddens says he is using that time wisely.

"Math has grown this year but not to the level where we want it to be, so we figured we'd put more focus on math to hopefully improve those scores this year," said Giddens.

Giddens says students normally begin classes at 7:40 a.m., but that will change.

"We're going to push that back to 8 o'clock. From 7:40 a.m. to 8 a.m. we're going to do math intervention. Our students will work on decimals, fractions and percents. That seems to be our weakest area, according to our DCAS system," said Giddens. 

DCAS stands for Delaware Comprehensive System Assessment. It is used to measure student achievement.

Giddens says geometric reasoning tends to encompass a large portion of the testing.

"We really want to work on that so students can improve their scores," said Giddens.

So what do students feel about the extra 20 minutes?

"My friends were kind of upset about it because they didn't want to be here for an extra 20 minutes, but it doesn't really matter to me," said Stamas.

Thomas says teachers will have to make up days at the end of the year. He says teachers are on a 188 day contract that's divided into 180 school days and 8 professional days.

"This is not closed. We will be revisiting this," said Thomas.

Other school districts in Kent County are planning to make up snow days in different ways.

For example, Milford School District Superintendent Phyllis Kohel said her district only has to make up three days. 

"Seniors are only required to have 1,032 hours of instruction time. We are putting days back into the schedule to make sure they meet that state requirement," said Kohel. 

Kohel says seniors will make up one day in March, meant to be a professional day for teachers. They will also make up two day between finals and graduation. 

Students in the Caesar Rodney School District missed six days.

According to school leaders, the superintendent plans to ask local board of education to "modify our school calendar to forgive six days missed while at the same time ensuring that our students meet the minimum requirements required by the State of Delaware of 1060 hours," said Ronald Gough, spokesperson for the Caesar Rodney School District.

It is unclear what Smyrna or Lake Forest will do at this time in terms of snow days.



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