44 Kentucky school districts approved for non-traditional learning during bad weather

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - When bad weather hits in the upcoming school year, students in 44 Kentucky school districts will now continue their learning even when they aren't at school.

The Kentucky Department of Education has approved waivers allowing the districts to use virtual or other non-traditional means of instruction when school is cancelled because of weather or another emergency.

In most cases, students will participate in lessons online.

Under the provisions of the waiver, a district may count up to 10 non-traditional instruction days as regular attendance days in its school calendar and not have to make them up.

“As were have been reminded in the last couple of years, weather is unpredictable and when harsh weather hits, it creates a significant hardship for both teachers and students alike,” said Education Commissioner Terry Holliday. “For the last two years many of our districts were forced to close for several days or weeks at a time due to snow and cold, which not only disrupted instruction but also extended the school year for many. While we hope that this winter will not be as bad, now students in the approved districts will be able to carry on with learning – even when inclement weather keeps them out of the classroom.”

The 44 districts that received non-traditional instruction waivers for the 2015-16 school year had to submit applications that described their plans for learning while school was not in session.

The applications were scored on a rubric that evaluated teaching methods, equal access to the lessons for students without Internet access, staff deployment, community engagement and assessment of student learning.

All 173 school districts were eligible to apply for the non-traditional instruction waivers.

The districts approved for waivers will submit proof of student learning for the missed days in the spring. Then the Kentucky Department of Education will determine how many regular attendance days will be granted to each district.

During the 2014-15 school year, 13 districts participated in the program. They were approved for between four and 10 non-traditional instructional days. Each is participating in the program again this year along with 31 districts new to the program.

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