Government aims to extend school year over storm days

P.E.I. Education Minister Alan McIsaac wants to add a day at the end of the school year and cancel another professional development day to help make up for school days lost to storms.

12 days lost to storms this year

P.E.I. Education Minister Alan McIsaac wants to add a day at the end of the school year and cancel another professional development day to help make up for school days lost to storms.

The storms in the last week have been a disaster for lost class time, says Education Minister Alan McIsaac. (CBC)

Students are back in school Wednesday after missing five straight days to two separate storms, making a total of 12 days lost this school year. The English Language School Board has already cancelled a professional development and parent-teacher interview day this Friday to make up lost class time.

McIsaac now wants to go further, and is asking teachers to give up their union's May 2 PD day and add a day of classes at the end of June.

"This last five days has been a disaster with the loss of instructional time and we need to gain back as much of this as we can," he said.

The extra day at the end of the year means teachers would have just two days to pack up their classrooms, instead of three, before their 10-month contracts end.

In recent months McIsaac has been emphasizing the importance of PD days, defending adding three more PD days to  2014-15 school year. He has said that extra professional development is not coming at the expense of instructional time.

"Professional learning is so important, and is definitely beneficial for our teachers and for our students, and it is needed, but not at the cost of instructional time and that's key first and foremost," McIsaac said.

P.E.I. Teachers' Federation president Gilles Arsenault, however, is not convinced of the need to make up for lost time.

There is no need to panic, says P.E.I. Teachers' Federation president Gilles Arsenault.

"There's no need, I guess, to panic," said Arsenault.

"Teachers are professionals and they will make sure that this curriculum is met. I don't think it's the number of days, it's the quality that we're looking at, and we're looking at quality teaching."

Arsenault said teachers can accelerate their teaching, send home more homework and eliminate extra activities as a way to catch up. 

There have been other years with just as many days lost with efforts being made to add more instructional days to the year, he said, but he added the federation would consider the minister's suggestion.

For mobile device users:What should be done to make up for school days lost to storms?

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.