Timberlane district blizzard bag plan in placeBy ADAM SWIFT
Union Leader Correspondent
December 26. 2013 9:26PM
PLAISTOW — The Timberlane Regional School District is moving forward with the blizzard bag online learning program, but the program won’t be in place if school is canceled because of snow during the first few weeks of January.
The program allows the district to count snow days as regular school days if 80 percent of students complete the prescribed amount of work online when a blizzard bag day is called.
Assistant Superintendent Roxanne Wilson said the district is working on the final process of making the program a reality.
“We want to make sure everything is in place before we call an online learning blizzard bag day,” she said. “We will have links that will be posted on each school’s website, which will automatically link to the blizzard bag information.”
The district is also working on a frequently asked questions link on the district website about the program, Wilson said.
“The audience for that is really the parents, but we are also putting together information for the teachers,” said Wilson. “We will have two training dates in January to work with the elementary, middle and high school teachers.”
At each level, the lessons for the snow days will be accessed through web platforms that are already used by the students.
Teachers will also be available to students via email during the snow days.
Wilson said it is likely that the first blizzard bag day won’t be called until after the high school begins its next term on Jan. 27. She said this will give the district time to get everyone up to speed.
“There is still a lot of work that needs to be done,” said Wilson. “We expect that within three weeks of coming back from vacation, we will be ready.”
The district is also looking at contingency plans to make sure students can complete lessons even if there is a power or Internet outage during the storm.
Superintendent Earl Metzler said there will likely be specific circumstances before the first blizzard bag day is called, including having enough warning about a potential storm to review the process and procedures in the schools the day before the storm.
Metzler said the district still has some work to do to make sure the students engage in high-caliber learning during the blizzard bag days.
“This is a dramatic shift from sledding and building snowmen to spending a couple of hours during the day sitting and getting some work done,” said district School Board Chairman Robert Collins.