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Oklahoma school districts work around missed days

BY DARLA SLIPKE Published: February 11, 2010
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St
ate schools Superintendent Sandy Garrett notified district superintendents that the state student testing period will be extended this year because of the length and magnitude of school closings caused by winter storms.

Harold Hayes, superintendent of Eldorado Public Schools, said the ice storm has been devastating for some school districts whose communities shut down for more than a week because of power outages. Hayes said he would like the state Board of Education to consider waiving some or all of the days that those hard-hit communities missed.

Eldorado schools missed five days during the storm. District officials sent a letter to the state Education Department on Wednesday requesting to switch to measuring the year in hours, Hayes said.

The district has two built-in inclement weather days and about 15 extra minutes built in to each day, but Hayes said that time wouldn’t come close to making up for the missed days. The district has decided to extend the day by an hour to help make up time, Hayes said.

Students at Marlow Public Schools returned to class Tuesday after missing seven days of instruction. Superintendent George Coffman said officials are still trying to work out details of how they will make up those days. The schools have between 15 and 20 minutes of extra instruction time built into each day, and Coffman said he hopes the district will be able to make up missed time that way.

"It’s a nice option,” Coffman said. "It (counting hours) has definitely been a benefit to our district and to the rest of the state.”