DERRY — Preliminary results show that the first day of a pilot Blizzard Bag program at Pinkerton Academy went well.
There were a few glitches during the launch of the program on Feb. 5, but the participation rate exceeded expectations, said Dean of Faculty Beverly Lannan.
The high school has spent about two years developing the program so students won’t miss assignments when they are forced to stay home because of snow storms. The so called Blizzard Bags are internet-based assignments students will complete on days school is cancelled because of inclement weather or other emergencies.
Overall participation surpassed 90 percent, according to the preliminary results. Administrators were hoping for at least an 80 percent participation rate, so the results were encouraging, she added.
“It worked out well,” Lannan said. “Teachers were able to get the lesson up, and students were able to access it from home through the Internet.”
During Pinkerton’s first Blizzard Bag Day, students in a wood working class were required to watch a video on You Tube that related to equipment used in wood working. During the assignment, students had to answer questions about such topics as using a table saw and table saw safety.
The students had been studying the table saw that week in class, so the assignment reinforced what they were learning, Lannan said.
“I think teachers are really being creative in the lessons that they are coming up with to relate to what they are trying to convey in class,” Lannan said.
Only the preliminary results were available on Wednesday; the final numbers on the program should be available on Monday.
Most parents gave a positive response to a quick survey on last week’s Blizzard Bag Day, Lannan said. There were some, however, that said they thought the length of assignments given to their children was a little too long, Lannan said.
“Some of the kids were spending a lot of time with each class,” Lannan said. “I think teachers just ... over prepared.”
Lannan said administrators have talked to faculty about keeping the length of assignments to the typical duration of a class period, or about 20 to 30 minutes.
Thursday was also designated a Blizzard Bag Day and Lannan said she is hoping teachers understood and shortened lesson lengths.