Parents upset school days will be 20 minutes longer until Oct. 3 - CBS46 News

Parents upset school days will be 20 minutes longer until Oct. 31

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(Source: WGCL) (Source: WGCL)

Parents of students in the DeKalb County School District are upset school days will be 20 minutes longer to recoup time lost when Tropical Storm Irma battered metro Atlanta on Sept. 11.

Downed power lines, debris and road closures caused DeKalb County schools to be closed for four days. As a result DeKalb County Schools Superintendent Dr. Stephen Green proposed that the school day be extended to make up the lost instructional time.

However some parents feel DeKalb County Schools did not properly plan for the potential impact of the storm.

Parent Gil Hearn said "adding 20 minutes to any day is a huge logistical nightmare."

Some parents shared their opinion online with comments like, "I do agree that the kids missed instruction time, but slicing and dicing the time into little bitty pieces does not make up for the learning lost."

Another parent posted, "That just checks a box for the county and does nothing for learning time."

Parent Jennifer Tiberia said the additional 20 minutes is an inconvenience to staff, bus drivers, teachers and parents.

"If they wanted to truly make up instructional time, obviously they should have built in some days into each semester in case something like this happens," said Tiberia. "I don't think they thought things through. They didn't get any staff input, or parent input, or any input."

Lakeside High School officials decided to implement the time for study hall, but parents argue it does nothing to recoup instructional time.

"I think the only way to really fix this is to build the contingency into the schedule from the start," said Hearn.

In a letter sent to DeKalb School of the Arts, parents says, "Students will be allowed to go to teachers as needed for tutoring, make-up work, missed labs, and/or go [sic] the media center for computer use if research is needed. All teaching staff will be involved in monitoring and assisting students during this time."

District officials have approved every school's plan for use of the time and will be monitoring it to ensure proper use. A spokesperson for the district sent CBS46 reporter Adam Murphy the following statement:

Thank you for allowing us to provide clarity. Each principal will determine how best to utilize the 20 minutes in their building, but it MUST be added to the instructional day. For example, they can’t add 20 minutes to recess, the lunch hour or PE. Many schools are using it in the core content areas – math, English, social studies, science or in some schools where students are struggling in a particular subject area, they are applying the time to that specific subject.

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