Conway Public School announced this week that it had received approval from the state to use Alternative Methods of Instruction (AMI) days in case of school closure during inclement weather.
Previously, the district was allowed a certain amount of make up days that would be used in occasions where school was canceled.
Communication Specialist Heather Kendrick said, in essence, there wont be any more make up snow days.
She said the AMI days will enable the district to not have to make up snow days after the school year is over and will not have to use days that are already in the approved school calendar.
Kendrick said if those days are not used, they will get out earlier.
"From now on, if we have snow or bad weather, we will use what we call an AMI day and students will be given assignments ahead of time if we know the weather ahead of time," she said. "If not, they’ll get the assignment the first day they return back to school and they have five days to complete these assignments and completion of those assignments will enable them to get credit for that school day."
Kendrick said they’re in no way saying students can’t enjoy the snow day.
"When you talk about make up snow days this is really a win-win because students can do their assignments that week that they’re out for snow," she said. "We’re not saying that people can’t go out and play in the snow or anything like that but they’ll have the assignment."
Whether they complete that work at school before the inclement weather, during or after the AMI days, that work, Kendrick said, can be done at their convenience.
"It has been a clear priority for patrons in our community, for stakeholders, that they want to end school before June, definitely, and the calendars we have approved the last two years we have been out before memorial day and I think that is safe to say people like that," she said.
The work that is being prepared, Kendrick said, is a collaborative effort between grade level teachers, will be consistent across the board and will be appropriate and relevant material that students have already been taught.
"It’s just [students have] missed a day of school [and they] have to make up the work that is required," she said.
For kindergarten through first grade, students will receive a paper packet but for second through 12th grade — paper packets will be available upon request for students who don’t have internet access at home — the work can be completed in Google Classroom, which students are already familiar with.
Those students who might be struggling with the work will also not be left in the dust, Kendrick said, because teachers are always available on the front end but the district has also asked teachers to check in on Google Classroom, an interactive platform that allows questions to be asked and thoughts to be shared.
In addition, they will also be available on the Remind 101 application that teachers and parents use to communicate.
So far, Kendrick said, the district has received mostly positive feedback but did say they have had a few parents showing concern about their child not just receiving a day to enjoy the weather.
"We’re not saying you can’t still do that," she said. "You absolutely can still do that because you can either do the assignment ahead of time or after the fact. It is absolutely not preventing a snow day from being a snow day."
Overall, Kendrick said the decision to take advantage of the new option for the AMI days was made because ultimately people don’t want to go to school in June and this was the best option to prevent that.
"I think most people see that last day of school on the calendar and in their minds they think that’s the last day of school and any day after that is like moving the finish line so to speak," she said. "This is essentially saying that will never happen again unless for some reason we try this and it doesn’t work."
Other districts in Faulkner County are also jumping on the AMI train.
Guy-Perkins announced the change via its Facebook page Thursday and encouraged followers to clink the link posted to see the new policy.
"Once we saw we had the option and we knew it worked for others we thought it was worth a try to see because we thought our parents would appreciate the opportunity to see if days could be made up in this way," Kendrick said.