The days will get a little longer for students, teachers and staff of Seymour Community School Corp.
Officials announced Thursday a decision to extend the school day by one hour for 12 days beginning April 1 to make up missed days this winter.
For elementary school students, that means school will end at 4:15 p.m. The middle school and high school will dismiss at 4:30 p.m.
Superintendent Rob Hooker said the extra hour will focus on getting elementary and middle school students ready for the second round of ISTEP+ testing, which begins April 23. It will be used by high school students to prepare for end-of-course assessments on April 20.
The move will allow the district to fulfill the state’s requirement of 180 days of instruction without forcing seniors to come back after graduation on May 31.
The last day for extended days will be April 16 unless school has to be canceled again for inclement weather. The last day of the school year for students will be May 29.
During the extended days, students will be provided with healthy snacks at no cost, Hooker said.
Also, the district will allow after-school practices and events to be scheduled until 7 p.m. Wednesdays. Athletics competitions might have to be scheduled on Wednesdays, Hooker added.
Traditionally, the school system has shied away from Wednesday activities to allow students to spend time at church or with family.
The conditional waiver to add instructional time was one of several options recently made available to school corporations by the Indiana Department of Education to make up lost days after another harsh winter.
Seymour has canceled school eight times since the beginning of February due to snow, ice and cold temperatures and had two-hour delays on 10 other occasions since November. Two-hour delays do not have to be made up.
One missed day already was made up Feb. 16.
“These cancellations and delays were made in the interest of student and staff safety,” Hooker said.
Seymour Community Schools also will be in session April 3 (Good Friday) and 6. Those days will be extended by one hour as well, Hooker said.
Other options offered by the state included not making up the days and instead paying a penalty for each missed day at $150,000 per day; extending the school year by the necessary number of days; and scheduling school on Saturdays or during spring break and other holidays.
The plan is just like the one followed last year when the district missed 15 days and had to add an hour on to 54 days to make up the time.
Although there were a lot of complaints and it took time to get used to the new schedule, some parents said they thought it was the best option.
“My kids and I liked it,” parent Brandy Smith said. “It seems like less of a big deal instead of taking days away from their summer. I know a lot of families have vacations already planned.”
Parent Rex Schroer said he too favors the plan and even took it a step further.
“Maybe add a half-hour to the school day in future years and eliminate the need for makeup days all together,” he said.
Seymour Community Schools will extend the school day by one hour beginning April 1 to make up missed instructional time from snow days this winter.
This includes April 3 (Good Friday) and April 6, the day after Easter.
The last day for extended days will be April 16 for a total of 12 days.
The last day of the school year will be May 29.
Daily dismissal times for extended days:
- Elementary: 4:15 p.m.
- Middle school and high school: 4:30 p.m.