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November 7, 2013

Pinkerton Academy pilots blizzard bags

Pinkerton Academy to test blizzard bag program

DERRY — Snow days may never be the same for Pinkerton Academy students.

Instead of missing school and watching the flakes fall, students will now be able to do classroom assignments and keep up with their work.

The high school is piloting a blizzard bag program, where students staying home due to snow days are given school work to do that will count as a day’s worth of assignments.

Most of the work is done online; if students do not have access to a computer, hard copies of the work are distributed.

It’s a program several schools around the state are now using or trying out this year.

Beverly Lannan, Dean of Faculty, said it’s a positive move to help keep Pinkerton’s curriculum moving when storms hit.

“They will be happy at the end of the year when they are not sitting in these hot classrooms,” she said.

The idea first came up in 2009 and the state’s Department of Education has opened up the option to all school districts.

It has caught on in some districts, but not in all. For Pinkerton, administrators say it’s worth a try.

Lannan said Pinkerton has considered the blizzard bag approach for three years. Several teachers came forward and said it was something the school might look into.

That included getting input through surveys from parents and students.

The plan started taking shape with much administrative support, Lannan said.

Lessons done at home during a snow day are meant to be rigorous and detailed, she added.

“We don’t want it to be just fluff,” Lannan said.

When a snow day is called, students will be able to access the EDLINE online program where teachers will have their specific assignments.

Lannan said teachers will be given ample notice to get their lessons online when there is danger of a big storm coming.

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