Hooray for snow-day teachers

Published 10:16 pm Monday, January 15, 2018

Having students take annual standardized tests is, by all accounts, a terrible way to measure their overall academic achievement, not to mention an abysmal way to measure the performance and commitment of their teachers and administrators.

Taking one test on one day does little to demonstrate how much a student actually knows. There are a multitude of things that could cause poor performance on these tests, ranging from feeling tired or ill to trouble at home or being hungry.

Add in a week of snow days just before exams, and the odds are stacked up against students who may have been struggling to prepare in the first place.

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But Jeffery Seneca and Wayne Rau, fifth-grade math and science teachers, respectively, at Mack Benn Jr. Elementary School, weren’t going to let a little snow set their students back.

The two used online programs to set up online review sessions during the snow days so that their students could have additional time to master the material before the upcoming tests. The weather outside may have been frightful, but the students didn’t need to step foot outside of their homes to learn.

The sessions were reportedly well attended and well received. Seneca had 26 individual students — keep in mind, these are mostly 10- and 11-year-olds who gave up part of their snow day to learn — attend across the four tutoring sessions he held. Rau said his students reported enjoyment and appreciation of the snow-day sessions once back in class last week.

The sessions also helped parents better understand what their children have been doing in the classroom.

Seneca said the lessons were so successful that he and other teachers are looking at having similar sessions on a regular basis.

We applaud Seneca, Rau and their colleagues who took similar steps to help their students keep up when snow precluded them from actually attending school. The innovation, technological expertise and dedication shown by the teachers and students who participated bode well for the results of these tests.