West Clermont board discusses calamity days

Dr. Kline
By Kristin Rover
Sun staff

West Clermont Board of Education Members authorized Superintendent Dr. Keith Kline to move forward with adding an extra Blizzard Bag during their Feb. 10 meeting.

Blizzard Bags included assignments from teachers to keep the students learning while also canceling out snow days at the districts.

“At this point we’ve lost eight days of instruction,” Kline said during the meeting.

Kline said five of the calamity days are covered by law and two of the snow days they used in February counted by the use of Blizzard Bags.

“One day is not made up,” Kline said.

Kline said the state has given the district the option to use a Blizzard Bag to make up a day. He said this coming weekend would be a good time because it is a holiday weekend.

“I am sure the kids will be thrilled,” Kline joked.

Kline said he is aware that state officials are considering approving more calamity days for school districts in Ohio, but he is not sure when they will make the decision.

“What we are leaning toward is using the Blizzard Bag,” Kline said. “If the state approves additional days, we may well use them.”

Kline said that while nothing can replace actual instruction in the classroom, he feels the Blizzard Bags have provided a good alternative.

“It’s not a perfect solution, but it does keep the kids engaged,” Kline said.

Board member Tammy Brinkman said she has received positive feedback about the Blizzard Bag model, even though she didn’t receive positive feedback from her children who had to complete the assignments on their snow day.

Stacy Recker, a high school social studies teacher at the district, said she is concerned the Blizzard Bag work won’t be exemplary from students, but she does feel the extra review is a good thing.

Recker said teachers are able to create the work for the Blizzard Bags.

Joan Lewis, a high school chemistry teacher at the district, said she picked work assignments that she felt was appropriate for her class.

“I gave practice questions and review,” Lewis said.

Lewis said the Blizzard Bags don’t replace instruction, but she feels they may be a better option than adding days to the end of the year.

She said for AP students, the Blizzard Bags provide review, while days at the end of the year come after the AP tests and may not be as productive.

Board members directed Kline to move forward with the additional Blizzard Bag day.

“I think we should go ahead with the third bag and get caught up,” Brinkman said.

Steve Waldmann said if Kline thinks the bags are working, he supports adding another Blizzard Bag day.

Jim Smith said he is in favor of using another Blizzard Bag as well as long as the work included in the bags is beneficial for the students.

“I would agree, if it is not fluff go with it,” Smith said.

Kline said they appreciate parents working with the district by having their children complete the Blizzard Bags.

He said they are still looking into what will happen with AP testing as a result of the snow days.

“We will work to be prepared for AP testing,” Kline said.

He said the state is considering moving testing days to give districts more breathing room because of all of the snow days.

“The good news is we aren’t alone,” Kline said about the snow days.