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Greenbrier County Schools looks to take advantage of additional instructional minutes

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Greenbrier County Schools looks to take advantage of additional instructional minutes
By Jeff Jenkins, WV MetroNews

LEWISBURG, W.Va. — One of the biggest supporters of a new state law that will allow county school systems to add instructional minutes to their school days and count those minutes during snow days is Greenbrier County, but additional minutes isn’t a new thing, according to Greenbrier County School Superintendent Jeff Bryant.

“We’ve been doing it for about 20 years,” Bryant recently told MetroNews.

The county stretches its school day by 30 minutes.

“The seat time is the most important aspect,” Bryant said. “Providing some more education time each day for our students, more educational opportunities, but also knowing the fact that we will miss school because of the inclement weather.”

Up until now those extra minutes couldn’t be counted toward instructional days but with the passage of the bill (HB 2711) during the recent regular legislative session, that time can be used for up to five snow days. The state requires 180 instructional days. Last year, because of a bad winter, some counties had school into the third week of June.

Under the law, another five days can be banked to allow for collaborative efforts by teachers with students out of the building.

Bryant expects his county will take advantage of the new provisions.

“We were very fortunate. We only had three days we had to miss (this school year) because of inclement weather. That’s a very rare thing for us. We average 12 to 15 days (off because of weather) that’s our average,” Bryant said.

The new law also allows for what’s called “reimagining time” where students can receive assignments and work on them at home through technology. Bryant said Greenbrier County has had Chromebooks and netbooks for some time.

“We feel very fortunate that our board of education has allowed us to do that so in this case we will be able to continue to provide instruction through the use of technology,” Bryant said.

School systems deciding to take advantage of the accrued time option will have to provide accountability of the minutes through documentation, Bryant said.

“If we apply for the reimagining time we will also have to have a very precise and detailed plan of how we are going to offer instruction for our students on the days we miss and what our faculty and staff will be doing those days,” Bryant said. “Everyone is actively involved in education. It’s not going to be a day off for students and instructors.”