With the threat of inclement weather this week, Polk County schools were tasked with making the decision to close or remain open.
The decision is weighed by the conditions of the roadways for both the bus routes as well as the car riders and the number of absenteeism that will occur on the given day.
In previous years, missing school for inclement weather resulted in additional days tagged on at the end of the school calendar year; however, each of the districts now have the option of closing but supplying students with an Alternative Methods of Instruction packet.
If closure is foreseen by the school district as it was with the campuses of Ouachita River School District, then a packet was sent home with students to be completed during the AMI day. The packet will contact work for students to complete during the time off. According to ORSD Superintendent, Jerry Strasner, students must complete the packets and returned them to their teachers, but students will have a five day grace period for completion.
“If students turn in the packets they receive credit for the work, and the day will not count as an absence. If your child does not turn in the work, it will go down as an unexcused absence and the grade will be a zero for that day,” shared Strasner. He continued, “At the High School Campuses, Google Classroom and technology will be used where ever possible instead of a packet. Grades Pre-K through 8 will most likely have a packet of work labelled with each day’s assignments. Our intention is not to bombard the students with work while they are out... ORSD exists to provide a safe caring environment where everyone learns and grows in order to be prepared for life. ORSD hopes this method of instruction will be a better use of our student’s learning time than just adding the days to the end of the school year calendar where student absenteeism is at the highest.”
In addition to ORSD, Mena Public Schools Cossatot River School District opted to utilize their AMI 1 Packet for the Wednesday weather event.
As with ORSD, Students will have the opportunity to complete their assignments on the day missed or when school resumes. Attendance will be calculated by the successful completion of the assignments.
If 90% or more of the students complete their required learning expectations for the AMI Day, the day will not have to be made up at the end of the year.