With the threat of bad weather prolonging the school year seemingly every winter, the McCreary County School District has taken steps to initiate a new program this school year that could help alleviate up to 10 of those days by implementing Non Traditional Instruction.
The District submitted a proposal to the Kentucky Department of Education to participate in the NTI program for the coming school year, and was granted permission to begin preparations to begin the project this winter.
The NTI program entails pre-prepared lesson plans and assignments that the students will be assigned on specific days when school has been canceled due to poor weather.
Sometime in the late fall/early winter each student will be issued a binder to take home with 10 lessons to complete on NTI days. Those lessons will also be available in digital format on the teacher websites for each school.
When a snow day occurs, parents will receive a One-Call or email notifying them of the school closure and if the day is to be considered an NTI day (According to the announcement the first day missed will not be used as an NTI day.)
The students will be informed which specific lesson to complete for each day.
The lessons will not contain new material to be learned, but will mainly be material designed to review and bolster already covered subjects.
The binders will have all materials needed by the students to complete the lesson, and additional materials may be posted on teachers’ websites.
In the proposal the District acknowledges the limited internet availability in McCreary County, but has identified several public areas where internet is available, such as the library and community college. Additionally, plans are to have a “mobile lab” stationed at predetermined areas on specific days.
Under the plan, teachers will be available via phone and email to answer questions and give additional help to students from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on each NTI day. All certified staff, excluding cooks and bus drivers will be expected to report to their respective schools on NTI days (if possible) and will be responsible for taking part in on-line professional development during the day while also being available for student inquires.
Superintendent Mike Cash said the District being allowed to participate in the NTI program is a benefit for students and families.
“By implementing the NTI program, not only will our students be able to actively continue their education on days when they normally would not be in school,” he said. “Additionally, it could help prevent prolonging the school year in to June as we have seen often in recent years.”
After school resumes, the student will have two days to return the completed assignment to get credit as present that day.
For the District to qualify to count the NTI day as an instructional day more than 86 percent of the students must complete and turn in the assignment for each particular day. If that threshold is not reached an additional day will have to be added to the school calendar.
Students that do not participate on a particular NTI day will have to attend after school, intersession or possibly summer school to make up the missed days and assignments.
As each NTI day is completed the District will compile all data for each day, including participation, teacher’s logs and scores, and submit them to the KDE with a request for a waiver for up to a total of 10 days. The days are not guaranteed by the KDE.
More information concerning the NTI program will be available for parents at the open house sessions scheduled for each school next month.