A three-hour early release changed to a full Friday due to the an unprecedented nine snow days and four late starts.
“The state of Wisconsin has a lot of laws and regulations and some are for schools. One statute says every school in the state of Wisconsin has to have a certain number of hours,” said Principal Tom Chambers.
Many students were concerned with this change because of the multiple schedule changes that have gone on in second semester.
“I made an appointment at 2:30 because I thought we would still have the three-hour early release on Friday,” said junior Bailey Backus.
School District of Black River Falls administration has struggled with making up instructional minutes that are required by the state.
“There are three different groups of instructional hours that are required. So the smallest number of hours are needed for the younger kids. The largest number of hours that are needed in school for the state of Wisconsin are high school kids,” said Chambers. “Those numbers are calculated by looking at when students start the day and when they finish it. They then subtract out minutes from lunch, passing time, and those types of things. And they subtract out snow days, late starts, whether it is a late start because of now or because of the schedule.”
Though all schools were scheduled to have a three-hour early release, administration at the high school decided to keep this a full Friday o add extra minutes to meet our required instructional time.
“We were short at the high school because we are required more than the other schools, except for the middle school, seventh through eighth is required the same number of minutes we are. However, you can count recess minutes, but not lunch. At the middle school they take out 15 minutes for lunch and 30 minutes for recess. We count the 30 minutes of learn as instructional minutes, but have to take out the 30 minutes for lunch,” said Chambers.
Administration has been working hard to figure out how to make our schedule work by adding minutes to the beginning and end of the day.
“At the beginning of the school year we were fine, but take nine snowdays out and the four two-hour late starts and all of a sudden you calculate the minutes and we’re running short on minutes,” Chambers said. Other ideas have been circulating in the minds of administration including a virtual day.
“The idea of a virtual day for students where students would somehow work on school work from home with their devices, but we felt like we weren’t at a place where it would be feasible,” said Chambers.
The high school is not the only school that has had to have changes of their schedules.
“‘Forrest Street was also short, so for the rest of the school year the little kiddos aren’t getting as much recess as they are scheduled to get,”. ,” said Chambers.
Administration has been doing what they can, andbut now are just focused on meeting the required time, but it has been strenuous.
“Looking at it now, in hindsight, if we would have known two months ago we probably would have pushed a little harder to say let’s just add those days the week after we were scheduled to get out in June. That maybe would have been a better approach,” said Chambers. “It’s been frustrating for me, it’s been frustrating for our administrators, all the principals and the superintendent, our curriculum director, our service director.”
Students are not the only people concerned with the changes. Parents also have comments about the different changes.
“My parents are upset because I am in charge of my younger brother and I am unable to watch him. If I had to give him a ride, what would we do?” asked sophomore Gabrielle Kovars.
This year is has been different than others, but next year the school plans on creating more time so this doesn’t happen again.
“Because this year was unusual, we have to do something unusual by changing the schedule at one of the buildings. This has never happened, and I don’t expect it to happen again,” said Chambers.