VBCPS responds to parents concerned with Saturday makeup days

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by Karen Hopkins, 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on February 7, 2014 at 7:14 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 7 at 8:14 PM

VIRGINIA BEACH -- Virginia Beach City Public School leaders are defending their snow makeup day plan.

It calls for three days of school on Saturday and many parents are upset.

School board member Leonard Tengco explained the superintendent had to make the difficult call, but the board is standing behind the plan.

1.       Why is it so important to make up these days on Saturdays?

  • The superintendent had to look at making up the days at a time when they would do the most good academically.
  • This schedule will allow students the benefit of instruction that takes place before high stakes assessments such as Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and SOL tests.
  • Remember, these tests are important. A school’s accreditation rises or falls based on its students’ performance on SOLs. High school students can earn college credit if they perform at a certain level on IB tests, for example.  So, we HAVE to make sure our students are well prepared.
  • Adding days at the end of the year obviously would not be as of much value.
  • We do not meet the 140 clock hours per high school credit course – which is a state requirement. So we have to make up the time. Again, I have explained why Saturdays work best.

2.       Why not use teacher in-service days?

  • We have already designated the existing in-service days as make up days. We made one day up on Jan. 24 which was an in-service day and we’re making up another March 28, also an in-service day. After that, there are no in-service days.

3.       Is there any way the public can overturn this decision?

  • First, I hope the majority of the public will understand the motivation behind the superintendent’s decision and support it, even if it involves some inconvenience for them. Dr. Magula made a decision that she knew wouldn’t be popular, but one she believed to be the right one because it is built on the intent to provide our students the preparation they need.
  • Our online calendar has outlined for years that Saturdays are an option for makeup days.
  • I also want to point out that the annual school calendar process is a collaborative one that involves a committee of parents, teachers and administrators. That committee and the School Board have agreed to allow the superintendent to designate makeup days. I can’t see that we would want to abandon that process now.
     

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