New Brunswick

Snow days adding up for New Brunswick students

The superintendent of the Anglophone East school district, Greg Ingersoll, says with seven snow days so far this year he is going to start looking at options to get some time back.

Independent school in Moncton expects students to continue learning on storm days

Students in Moncton enjoy their seventh day of cancelled classes because of bad weather on Tuesday. (Kate Letterick/CBC)

The Anglophone East School District is going to start examining its options on how students can make up lost teaching time after seven snow days have forced the cancellation of classes, according to its superintendent.

New Brunswick has been hit hard by several snowstorms in recent weeks and that has caused students to miss out on several days of school.

Gregg Ingersoll, the superintendent of Anglophone East School District, said students have lost a week's worth of school so far this winter.

"It is a reality that we deal with every year in New Brunswick and some years it's worse than others," he said.

"Last year, we had nine days altogether for snow days, five of those were in March."

In Fredericton, Rexton and the Francophone South school district, students have also lost seven days.

Snow days are not a new phenomenon and schools are regularly reminded to ensure that they are focusing on student learning and achievement.- Beth Stymiest, Anglophone North School District

In Miramichi students have had eight snow days, while in Bathurst, Campbellton and Dalhousie there have been nine days of cancelled classes.

Saint John students have had five snow days and students in Sussex have had six.

Ingersoll said teachers are used to adjusting their plans in order to teach the required curriculum.

He says the school year is just half over so there plenty of time to make those adjustments and work it into the long-term plan.

There is a professional learning day for teachers in Anglophone East on Feb. 13 and a parent/teacher interview day coming up on April 3.

"We have in the past used those days to gain back some time and we're going to be talking about that this week as well," Ingersoll said. 

"If you just have a snow day once in a while it's not such a big thing but when you have them intensify like we have lately everyone starts to get a little nervous."

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Francophone South School District said he isn't concerned about the number of days students have missed.

"Our teachers are used to these kinds of situations and work hard to adapt their courses to ensure they cover what's in the curriculum, therefore we do not have anything planned to make up for the loss of class time," Steve LaPierre said.

Beth Stymiest, the superintendent of Anglophone North, said student safety is her primary concern.

"Snow days are not a new phenomenon and schools are regularly reminded to ensure that they are focusing on student learning and achievement," she said.

Learning should continue on snow days 

Riverbend Community School, an independent school in Moncton, closes whenever the public schools shut their doors.

But Rebecca Bulmer, the school's director, said she makes sure to send extra work home with students when a storm is in the forecast.

Students at Riverbend Community School take home extra homework when storms are forecast so they can continue learning even when classes are cancelled. (Vanessa Blanch/CBC)
She said this is the first year she has started expecting school work to be completed on snow days.

"We have the luxury of all being connected with our iPads, so I do a lot of blogging with them to keep up and maintain the momentum of what we're doing in class," she said.

Bulmer said with the technology she is able to provide students with immediate feedback.

She admits there was some grumbling from her students at first, but said they are always excited to show her what they have completed when they return to class.

"The number one priority that they have is to fill in the gaps in their learning, so they're actually quite proud of themselves when they come back with all this homework completed," she said.

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