CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Just when students were starting to get back into the groove of school, another winter storm closed classes in 38 counties Monday.

Clayton Burch, the executive director of the Office of Early Education for the West Virginia Department of Education, said this has been a rough winter with kids out of class for weeks at a time.

School days are the exception rather than the norm for the past month in West Virginia.

“Being off school for a month and not having a consistent routine, that, in of itself, is a challenge for students,” explained Burch.

He said that presents a challenge to teachers who are gung ho to try and get those students learning new lessons but have to go back and do some refresher courses before they move ahead.

Burch said teachers are asking themselves, “‘We just had a large break. We had something unforeseen. I’ve got to really think about where the children are, where I’m trying to get them and how do I now prioritize my instruction to get them there.'”

That has to be based on each individual classroom according to Burch because it all comes down to the children and their learning abilities.

“I think you continually have contingency plans and I think it does require some professional educators to say, ‘I can’t be so rigid in hitting this lesson this week and this day,'” said Burch.

Until students get back into a regular routine of school five-days a week, Burch believes it will be difficult to balance that line between moving forward with lessons while making sure students remember what they learned prior to those missed days. He said flexibility is a must.

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Comments

  • Linda Coulter

    I truely understand this because after our long weather realted break, our students had trouble with basic routinues that were so familiar with. So I had to step back and take a fews minutes to revisit our social contact and involve the students in helping a new plan. I noticed the some of my students could write thier names with ease and now its almost like the forgot. Simple math we had knew before was not as domiated as before. As well as thier ability to listen to a story. I wish we could get back into a regular routine, I made up Snow Packets which involved hand on activities the students and family members could participate in at home. At our parent meeting I asked parents for their feedback and most parents were excited. But of course you are going to have those few that either cannnot or will not work with their child. But upon the return of the students you can clearly see which ones followed through with activites and the ones that had not. I explained if you could only read with your child daily this really could enhance their abilities.

  • Linda Coulter

    Mr. Clayton,
    I truely understand this because after our long weather realted break, our students had trouble with basic routinues that were so familiar with. So I had to step back and take a fews minutes to revisit our social contact and involve the students in helping a new plan. I noticed the some of my students could write thier names with ease and now its almost like the forgot. Simple math we had knew before was not as domiated as before. As well as thier ability to listen to a story. I wish we could get back into a regular routine, I made up Snow Packets which involved hand on activities the students and family members could participate in at home. At our parent meeting I asked parents for their feedback and most parents were excited. But of course you are going to have those few that either cannnot or will not work with their child. But upon the return of the students you can clearly see which ones followed through with activites and the ones that had not. I explained if you could only read with your child daily this really could enhance their abilities.

  • IRON HORSE

    IN TIMES OF MORE STORMS THAN NORMAL WE LIVE IN A TIME OF EVERYTHING COMPUTERS. WHY COULD NOT THE SCHOOL SYSTEM NOT SET UP A SITE THAT STUDENTS WOULD LOG INTO TO GET THEIR HOURS OF STUDY WHEN WEATHER KEEPS THEM FROM SCHOOL FOR MORE DAYS THAN NONMAL DO TO WEATHER!

  • Independent View

    I was not referring to the "...some Johnnys will never be able to read" situation, nor would I advocate holding a whole class back because one Johnny cannot read. There are remedial classes in place to help Johnny read or add or subtract.
    In my opinion, it is indisputable that a "cottage industry" in colleges and universites exists that teach "bone-head" English, mathematics and geography because incoming students cannot perform these basic tasks at the post-secondary level.
    And, I fail to grasp the concept that good teachers are paid the same as bad teachers. Which begs the question, where is the incentive for good teachers who really take their jobs seriously and are truly dedicated to the education of our children, but are paid the same as the incompetent and dilitary teachers in the system? Never an advocate of accross-the-board-raises, (seperate from COLA) as the teachers' unions are successful every year in securing for their membership. A merit-based raise system, continguent on a favorable performance review would be the preferred method. Then, each year, teachers in each discipline would have established goals to meet and their raises would be continguent upon how many of those goals were reached. This is the tried and true method successfully utilized in the private sector for decades, because it works. Look at the results in the private sector vs. the education system.
    Until there is accountability built into the system, teachers could be paid a 100k/year and education will not improve and Johnny still will not be able to read.
    If a "professional" needs a union to protect their job and garner annual raises for them then, the system is broken. Teachers, prefer to be viewed as professionals, like doctors, lawyers, engineers, RNs, pharmacists, etc. Similarly, these professionals have a license to practice their profession, but unlike teachers, they do not see the need to have a union represent them. And, to use the rebuttal that it's because teachers are paid with public funds does not hold water and it is an insult to taxpayers by advancing the misconception perpetrated by the teachers' unions that taxpayers will not reward positive results in our education system.

    • a concerned educator

      I agree that the unions push for too many pay raises, and I am married to a teacher. However, I do not support merit pay for teachers based on WESTEST scores. There are too many variables across classrooms to make a valid assessment of a teacher based on one standardized test. Some teachers have more students with disabilities in their classes, while some schools have more students who are poor. This skews the chance that each teacher will have the same level of success in their classes.

      If we want to move to a merit-based system, we should also do the same for doctors, dentists, and elected officials. What would the AMA do if doctors were paid by insurance companies and medicaid/medicare based the how fit their patients were? What is elected officials were paid based on how well the economy was doing? I am sure that there would be an uproar if these stipulations were mandated, but in many ways, that is exactly what people are insinuating for teachers when it comes to merit pay.

  • Independent View

    Ah, next year will be a whole new ballgame--180 days of required instruction!
    The "educational" gravy train won't be stopped, but it will, hopefully, be slowed.
    Ps-Johnny still cannot read!

    • IRON HORSE

      AFTER STUDENT TAKE WESTEST NOTHING IS DONE BUT MOVIES & FIELDTRIPS IS THIS CLASSROOM LEARNING?

    • Leo

      So let's hold (retain) Johnny back in elementary school until he can, it is called accountability on the part of the students and their parents. And, gasp, some Johnnys will never be able to read, and yet we hold the rest of the class back until he can. . . . . What is wrong with this picture?

      • a concerned educator

        Leo

        I agree with you wholeheartedly. There is a huge push from many administrators at the central office of many counties, as well as the WV Dept. of Ed. who believe that students should not be held back. I strongly disagree with this belief. Pushing a kid on who cannot read or complete math is just giving the next year's teacher more problems. In addition, it is not fair to the child. When a medical student cannot pass the state medical exam, do we go ahead and pass them anyway????? The overall concept is the same.

        • wvrefugee

          It's not about the teacher, it's about the kid!

          • a concerned educator

            wvrefrugee

            What I meant was that it makes it much more difficult for the teacher to reach that student because the student is already behind. I completely agree with you that it is the student who comes first. You just misunderstood my statement.

        • WhgFeeling

          EXCEPT when in fact many of the times a child cannot read or do math is due to poor teaching skills by the teacher. Many times that same child excells when they are given a good teacher the following year!!

          • a concerned educator

            If you look at the research regarding students who fail, they often come from homes with little parental support or encouragement in terms of education. Many of the parents of these students do not work with them on homework, they often do not read to the children, and they often do not support the educational mind set that is needed for students to succeed.

            I agree that there are some "bad" teachers out there, but no one can blame each child who fails on the teacher. There are too many other factors, especially poor parenting, that contribute highly to this issue.