Test Run: No snow, no students - no problem
There might not be any of the white stuff on the ground Friday, but Little Falls Community Schools are having a snow day. The planned snow day is more of a regular academic school day, Superintendent Stephen Jones said, there just won't be any st...
There might not be any of the white stuff on the ground Friday, but Little Falls Community Schools are having a snow day.
The planned snow day is more of a regular academic school day, Superintendent Stephen Jones said, there just won't be any students in the schools.
"It's a test run for a snow day from home, to see if the concept can work," Jones said. "So it's a preplanned, in a sense, snow day."
Students in grades 5-12 who have iPads to take home will have downloaded assignments to complete, Jones said. Some of those assignments will be technology-based, he said, but mostly, teachers have been given carte blanche to develop lesson plans for the day.
"As teachers are making plans and starting to populate them to kids and to us, we're really coming up with some really cool things," Jones said. "I think it's going to be a great experience."
Elementary students in grades kindergarten-4 don't take home their iPads, so their assignments are going to be different, Jones said. For example, Lincoln Elementary School in Little Falls will be doing a school-wide writing assignment and some physical education teachers will be assigning certain physical activities for students to do.
"I think it just depends on where you're at, what you're teaching," Jones said.
The district is making sure to emphasize the point Friday won't be a day off for students, Jones said.
"(It's) an academic day for students, as well as for teachers," Jones said.
The past few winters have been difficult, Jones said, and have resulted in multiple snow days, cancellations and late starts for the district. Academic days were added to the end of the calendar, but it wasn't as effective.
"Anybody in a school will tell you," Jones said. "A day of school in June is not as productive as a day of school in January or February. It just doesn't work, kids have checked out."
The preplanned snow day is a result of conversations among faculty and staff to try and find a solution to lost school days in the winter, Jones said.
"What can we do to keep academics going even if we have a snow day?" Jones said.
It's a new experiment for both teachers and students, Jones said, but teachers are taking their lack of direction to develop creative lessons. Some are creating sequential lessons which will fit in with what students learn on Wednesday and Thursday, while others will have students work on something outside of their pre-planned lessons.
"Quite honestly, from what I'm seeing, as our principals are collecting what staff are doing that day," Jones said. "Holy cow. Some staff have really spent some time and dedicated some thought process to this."
Having to complete school work from home also helps students prepare for a professional career where they may work from home, Jones said. Working from home is much more prevalent than it was in the past, he said, so it could be an employment option for students as they enter adulthood.
"In a big picture thing, I think there's some value in this, to have kids have to work from home," Jones said.
It's a new experiment for the district, but Jones said at least one good thing will happen Friday.
"I'm actually kind of intrigued to see how Friday goes," Jones said. "And the good news is it's not going to snow on Friday."
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