Using 'Blizzard Bags' to cut down on snow days

Blizzard Bags

(NEWS CENTER) — Most kids were back in school Wednesday after yet another snow day. Meanwhile, school districts across the state were working to figure out how to manage this year's snow days.

Some districts in New Hampshire have found a way to keep from backing up the date that kids are released for summer break. The program is called "Blizzard Bags."

Blizzard bags allow some New Hampshire school districts that use them to keep the learning going even if kids can't physically be in class.

NEWS CENTER spoke with the superintendent at Kearsarge Regional School District, and he explained how it works:

Each year, the district has five snow days and five Blizzard Bag days. When a storm is said to be coming, teachers prepare Blizzard Bags with assignments for students to work on, at home, if school is canceled.

The key to this is that teachers are available online or by phone to assist students as they work at home. If more than 80 percent of kids complete their at-home work, then the Blizzard Bag day is counted as a school day, the same as if kids were physically in class.

Some Maine schools are already employing similar programs. Baxter Academy in Portland is a charter high school, and they have days called Anytime/Anywhere Learning days. If 80 percent of kids provide evidence of the work they did on those days, they do count as school days.

Baxter has been doing this for three years now and up to three of their days per year can be those Anywhere/Anytime learning days. NEWS CENTER reached out to the DOE earlier to see if a program like this could be an option for other schools in Maine. This was their response:

"I checked around about your question regarding Blizzard Bags. This is a local decision and we would be open to working with school districts to iron out the details."

For additional information about the New Hampshire Blizzard Bags programs, visit kearsarge.org and education.nh.gov.

Copyright 2017 WCSH


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