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Longer days at Center Grove

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One week of snow days will mean longer school days for the rest of the year for Center Grove students.

Starting March 3, Center Grove’s roughly 7,700 students will be in school about 20 minutes longer every day until the end of the school year. Students will begin classes five minutes earlier than usual and finish 15 minutes later. The new schedule will make up three of the seven days students have missed due to snow and subzero temperatures this winter.

Teachers and principals at Center Grove’s eight schools will decide specifically how schedules will change and which lessons and assignments teachers will spend more time on.

School officials surveyed parents and employees before lengthening the school day to be sure a majority agreed with the decision. Center Grove’s school board approved the modified schedule 4-0.

“We feel like this is something we can do and still add useful instructional time,” assistant superintendent Bill Long said.

Local school districts have had to cancel school from five to seven times because of this winter’s severe weather. School officials have been working since January to find the best way to make up those days without impacting graduation or extending the school year into June.

Clark-Pleasant schools also opted this week to extend the school day. The district’s schools will add 40 minutes to the end of the school day starting Monday through spring break.

The state is giving schools a waiver for two of the days school was canceled this winter. School districts have other options for making up the remaining days, including adding days at the end of the school year, using online courses or having school on Saturday.

At Center Grove, Superintendent Richard Arkanoff earlier this month sent a survey to about 8,600 families and staff members. Nearly 3,440, or about 40 percent, responded to the survey, and about 83 percent of them favored extending the school day, Arkanoff said.

Center Grove school board member Adam Norman said he knows not everyone will be satisfied with extending the school day, but he appreciates that families had a chance to review the options school officials were considering.

“I do think this is probably a better solution than some other ones that are out there,” he said.

Other local school districts are sticking with their original plan to make up days students missed at the end of the school year.

Greenwood Superintendent Kent DeKoninck reviewed the makeup options and decided to use the snow days the school district already had built into the schedule. Greenwood’s students will make up three of the days missed in April and May.

Right now students’ last day at Greenwood is May 29, and commencement is scheduled for the next day. DeKoninck is hopeful he won’t have to cancel more days of school, since that would affect graduation.

“Quite honestly, I’m just hoping that we don’t have to worry about it,” he said.

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