North Hills waiting for OK to let kids do classwork at home on snow days

Friday, October 25, 2019 | 2:14 PM

Snow days could go the way of the fountain pen and dodge ball if the state OKs a request by the North Hills School District to replace them with Flexible Instruction Days that allow students to do classwork at home.

The board of education approved a request earlier this month for the district to apply for the program, which is being used locally in the Seneca Valley and Elizabeth-Forward school districts, according to school officials.

If North Hills is accepted into the program, as many as five Flexible Instruction Days would replace snow days or other unplanned school closings, according to the district.

Students would perform classwork at home, the day would count as a school day and a make-up day would not be required.

“This is going to be quality instruction,” Superintendent Patrick Mannarino said. “I don’t want to have any wasted days in education. I’m looking for these to be quality instruction or we’re not going to do them.”

On days when classes would otherwise be canceled, students would be required to log onto a website to access class assignments for the day.

Students in grades 5 through 11 currently have district-issued iPads to complete assignments, with plans to provide the devices to seniors next year.

Children in grades one through five will receive printed assignments when it appears weather could affect school the following day or parents can print the assignments from a website, district spokeswoman Heather Pelat said.

School administrators and teachers already have started preparing lesson plans for each subject at each grade level that will be used during Flexible Instruction Days.

Pelat on Friday said district officials are expecting to be approved for the program.

The application we submitted to the state Department of Education is pretty much exactly what they wanted,” she said. “We expect an answer within a week or so, but are pretty confident that we will be allowed to participate.”