BOE votes to eliminate snow days, have remote learning days instead

Winchester Public Schools seal
Winchester Public Schools seal

WINSTED — Under the recommendation of Winchester Superintendent of Schools Melony Brady-Shanley, at its Tuesday, Nov. 10 meeting the Board of Education approved a plan that would eliminate snow days from the school schedule and allow for remote learning from home.
At the meeting, Brady-Shanley said that the district would be going by recommendations by the State Board of Education.
“As a mom, I recognize the importance of a snow day to families,” Brady-Shanley said. “I want to be able to highlight the importance to be able to continue to have those family moments at home, while at the same time, understanding that the days we are pushing off until June are usually lost days and not learning days.”
Brady-Shanley said that, by having district students learn remotely instead of having a day off due to snow, students would “be getting more bang for their buck in terms of their instruction, while still preserving the importance of getting families to enjoy a snow day.”
“When we start racking on snow days [to the calendar] in June, it is not quality instruction that is happening,” Brady-Shanley said.
Brady-Shanley said that a remote learning day would be contingent on whether or not there are any internet or electrical outages in town.
“We have a plan for a minimum of four-and-a-half instructional time per day, with 50 percent synchronous learning and 50 percent asynchronous learning,” she said. “This means that two and one-quarter of a school day will be live with a teacher. The asynchronous time will be independent reading or the completion of their assignments.”
She added that Pre-Kindergarten classes would have individual tutoring sessions and asynchronous learning opportunities.
In other business: the board approved a letter by Chairman Doug Pfenninger requesting that The Gilbert School refund partial tuition for the school year 2020-2021.
Pfenninger said that both the district and the school estimated that this school year 450 students from Winsted would be attending Gilbert.
He said that, as of November 1, 424 Winsted students were attending Gilbert, which is 5.7 percent less than what was originally estimated.
The board accepted the retirement letter of Maria Summa, Special Education teacher at Batcheller School, along with the resignation letter of Media Specialist Debra Erickson.
According to Brady-Shanley, the school district currently has a balance of $5,343.

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