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Area districts look to shorten the school year

One local school district has shortened the year by 13 school days.

RICHFIELD, Ohio — Distance learning has come with a learning curve for students, teachers, parents, and school administrators alike. Now that Governor Mike DeWine has confirmed students won't physically return to the classroom for the rest of the school year, districts are mapping out what the rest of the school year entails. 

Many school leaders are considering less days. 

The Board of Education and Superintendent at Revere Local Schools have already made a decision. School there will end on May 22nd. That's 13 school days sooner than the scheduled June 11th date for summer break to begin. 

Superintendent Matthew Montgomery asked him a lot of questions throughout the decision-making process: "What is the value add of keeping the students through June 11th?  What is the social-emotional well-being of our students and our families and our teachers?" he recalled"

Montgomery also considered what was planned for students at the end of the school year, the lack of snow days that were used this school year. 

"So when I compare that type of year vs what we’re experiencing now. I did not think those 13 days of instruction were really taking away from our students just like if I called 10 snow days in a school year," said Montgomery. 

"When you think of the last week of school on a typical year, it’s filled with exams, field days, parties, movies – all of those relationship building things that are really special to students and families if they’re in a brick and mortar setting."

And he's not alone, other superintendents are considering similar solutions. But it's not a one size fits all solution. 

"I will tell you that I am on phone calls with superintendents across the state and nation on a regular basis and every single district I talk to is doing their very best to meet the needs of students during these times," said Montgomery. 

He says his district was very good about getting distance learning going -- taking just 3 days. Revere Local Schools already had some processes in place that were conducive to e-learning including devices for each student to take home. For that reason, he believes students will have satisfied the curriculum requirements without the last 13 days. 

"I’m confident that they have had the core curriculum or will get the core by May 22nd," said Montgomery. "Our teachers are certainly heroes in that environment and they’ve been working tirelessly to ensure students get the support they need."

And support for parents hasn't gone unnoticed. Montgomery says they'll also get a break from having to support their child's education during what is now a work-from-home period for many. 

"It takes a great deal of onus on our parents and we want to be mindful of that when we’re trying to make that decision." 

When students are out, teachers and administrators will continue to work -- identifying what went right and wrong throughout the pandemic to make things better in case distance learning continues into fall. 

"We can press pause as a district and figure out what we did well, what were our shortcomings, how can we improve our craft so we can re-calibrate for an uncertain fall," said Montgomery.

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