PHILIPPI, W.Va. — A West Virginia school superintendent forced to cancel classes 22 times this year because of weather said he’s unsure next year’s school calendar changes will improve instruction.

Barbour County Superintendent Joe Super said all the cancellation days created by ice and snow this year have been no-doubters.

“There has been no question and actually there have been a couple of days we’ve been in session that probably we should have been shut down,” Super said.

Barbour County currently has eight days built into its school calendar and plans to use them later this year. Super hopes the county can come with 14 of the required 180 instructional days.

Next year, a new state law extends dates and allows school systems to make up have classes until June 30. Super said Monday he’s not sure how beneficial that will be simply because after the Westest—the state’s standardized test—it typically becomes more difficult to get students to concentrate.

The Westest falls during the last week of April this year in Barbour County.

“After the Westest what good is it?” Super asked of makeup days. “I know we have great professionals that will do the best they possibly can with our students, working with them, but it’s still a tough task.

“The good weather comes in, your spring sports start to come into play–kids’ minds are elsewhere.”

Barbour County principals have had to adjust plans this winter on how their staffs will prepare students for the Westest.

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Comments

  • Curmudgeon

    We are not the only state that has snow days - the other day on the weather channel, the forecaster stated that some place in Oklahoma has had 18 days off also.
    A couple of weeks ago, I too questioned why Barbour was off school one of those days, but on that same day there was a bus wreck in Harrison and Taylor Counties.

  • joe smith

    This issue would be quickly resolved if state funding was dependent on days of instruction. Delays and closures due to cold weather would quickly disappear. Sounds harsh, but that's how Michigan does it.

    • Mac

      And Michigan is FLAT - - no country roads, or "hollers" and certainly no mountainous areas. It's just FLAT! So they can "chain-up" those buses and run! So, joe smith, some snowy morning when the buses ARE running in your county, get in your car and follow a bus for the entire route. Hopefully you'll chose a route that has hills and valleys. But when you get stuck, please don't ask the bus driver ahead of you to help pull you out of the ditch! And the state funding is locked in. You know, a fireman gets the same paycheck whether there's a fire or not. And even at a fire, he can even chose to NOT enter an enflamed dwelling. Same pay. But they are there when needed... just like the teachers!

  • SAF

    Sounds like Super is realistic: "After the Westest what good is it?" So the teachers just shrug their shoulders and give up on the students after Westest? Wouldn't that be the time when the teachers really change up their game to keep the students interested? It would be a great opportunity. The end of the school year consists of pool parties, field days, and movie time at the mall. That all needs to stop. Some teachers collect textbooks over a week before the last day of school. That shows me that the teachers are done too. If you're Facebook friends with teachers, pay special attention to see which ones are hoping for a snow day. I deleted a teacher friend of mine when she posted on Sunday evening that she was really hoping for a snow day so she could spend time with her boys. Really? She had 20 days of opportunity in our county to spend quality time with her boys....It's been a long winter for all of us.....

  • EnoughAlready

    I have been told by several educators and school board members the same thing about Westest being the effective end of the school year. So why have it in April? Wouldnt the kids be better prepared if the test was given closer to the end of the school year?

  • epteach

    Why not add minutes to every day?

    Where I teach our school day is 30 minutes longer than mandated. Over the period of a year this gives us extra days AND a fixed calendar. Last year we had extra days of school due to the time. This year we have used them up (as of yesterday exactly dead on). This means no extra days and parents/students can look at the calendar and that is it. This has been done since 1990 and this is the first year they have used all the days...in all the other years we actually had 180 days + some as a result of the banked time!

    No extra bus runs, no extra building heating and cooling (well, 30 extra mins a day which is cheaper).

    And, as teaching out of state, our state test is online and scores are back within days...Only if we could use those state tests as the final exam as part of the student grade...

    • rose

      This is an excellent suggestion and one that needs to be implemented in WV with all of these snow days off.

      Simple but effective epteach!

      Hear that BOE's across the state?

      • The bookman

        I've been told that it would require a change in code by the legislature. Currently, extra minutes can be used to make up time lost to delays or early dismissals, but not full instructional days. I would like to see the change made to the code as well. Great solution to a major problem.

        • rose

          Well, then the legislature needs to get back to work and change it.

          A simple fix to a huge problem.

  • knows

    WAIT A MINUTE !! everyone is all confused now. They were all so worried about (180) days in school. All u every hear is 180. Now administrators and all other school employees think the 180 days is the number they are supposed to be off

  • wvharry

    This guy is an idiot. How can a Superintendent say that what good is teaching after the Westest. It si no wonder WV has one of worst educated children in all of USA and no wonder Barbour county is helping to keep this level of education so low.
    This guy shoudl be FIRED immediately, he is embarrassing. He is more worried about days off than educating the youth. Please Please someone help us move WV forward instead of constantly trying to figure how we can get something for nothing.

    • Mac

      OK there wvharry. Why are you getting so "harried!" Everybody, (students, teacher, parents) except you understand that once the Westest is finished, so is school! Remember, the teachers teach the test - (we're not supposed to say that) and once the students have taken the test, IT'S OVER! Seriously! We can't wait until the last week of school to test as it is impossible to have the entire state on-online at one time. There is a "window" of time so that the system is not over-burdened. You also can't wait until the last week of school because if there is a "problem" with the Westest, you have no additional time to re-test. So, that's why when the Westest is over.....IT'S ALL OVER in the schools (though we aren't supposed to say that.) Even the students know IT'S OVER - so they shut down. As they say: "We took the test. That's the most important test of the year. So WE ARE DONE!" Don't you remember your last days of school? Did you have homework and tests right through the end of the school year? If you did, you must have gone to school somewhere else.....like Mars!

  • Rick S.

    After giving it some thought, maybe Mr. Super is on to something. It seems that right now the teachers are not happy, the administrators are not happy, the students are not happy, and the parents are not happy.

    Maybe instead of mandating 180 instructional days, we ought to try reducing the number of days. We could go back to starting school after Labor Day and end it after the Westest at the beginning of April. West Virginia's students as a whole are doing so poorly anyhow, would lopping off a few weeks make much difference?

    And all the money that would be saved on transportation, cafeteria workers, custodians, and administration could all be diverted to giving teachers pay raises.

    While we are at it, we might as well reduce the amount of english, math, and history courses, and focus more on real-world skills that these students will need in the future, like social media, how to apply for welfare, how to apply for food stamps, how to apply for medicaid, how to apply for HUD, and maybe even how to fake a workers' compensation injury. Oh wait, you can't fake a workers' compensation injury unless you have a job. Okay, scratch that last one.

    Obviously, what we are doing now is not working, so maybe it is time to try something different.

    • wvharry

      right on Rick S --- It is getting tough to defend our education system. If we all just give up Obama will support us, jsut look how much he has helped the coal miners in the state.

  • Mark

    The WESTEST window this year is April 21-June 6 because the state has chosen to take the test online. The test window used to be the third week of May and it lasted one week.

  • Amazed

    Just reading all of these comments and other posts on school-related issues and thinking.....Apparently, simply having attended school in one's lifetime makes one an expert on teaching and education. By the same token, I must be a medical expert, having been in the hospital at various times. So I'm sure the hospitals would benefit from my input....

  • Joeknowitall

    Try driving a bus load of kids on a ice covered road, he's looking out for the safety of the kids ! Chains on a bus don't help and other states have charter buses and they only run on the main roads not the back roads

    • What?

      Funny, this seemed to work on buses years ago when I went school.....during as bad weather or worse on those same back roads as you describe.

      • flaghorse

        I agree. I grew up in N/W PA. Winters were grueling. We actually walked to the end of the lane in - wind chills. I have neighbors who fire up the SUV, let it warm up for 15 minutes, drive 20 feet to the end of the driveway, and sit with it running until the bus comes. Kids today are soft. We were bussed in all sorts of weather. Many mornings we had 10-15 buses that came to school late due to bad road conditions.
        The problem today is we are a litigation based society. Everyone is so afraid of a lawsuit that we are paranoid.
        I am not saying that we should put kids in danger, but some of our days off here were just so uncalled for, and now nobody is happy.

  • Bill Staples

    Students cannot learn if not in school. When it snows everyone else has to go to work. What happens in Maine,Minnesota and Alaska on snowy days, They go to school !Yet we continue to babyfy our students

  • TZ

    With guys like Joe Super in charge, we might as well quit. Why try Joe?

  • The Problem

    Stop teaching to the test and start teaching so that students actually learn instead of just memorizing and it won’t be an issue. The problem that really exists isn’t with the kids it’s with the teachers; as soon as the Westest is given they stop teaching. After all why would they, their biggest performance evaluation has already passed for the year.

  • jm

    ok...........let's move the west test to the last 5 days of school...............

    • Big Jim

      Having a teacher in the family, I can tell you that is what most teachers want.

      • Big Jim

        and Jeremy, the test are graded by a computer. Have been for a long time. Get with the times man.

    • jeremy

      Teachers would have to stay over to grade them. LOL

    • makes sense

      Why would educators do something that actually is the right thing to do?

      • wvu999

        Yeah we all know teachers has the power an authority to change the westest dates.