Thousands of Tennessee students in our area have missed nearly 2-weeks of instructional time in the classroom - time they would usually have to prepare for the TCAP exams. The reason is because of the numerous days of snow and wintry weather.
Many kids in our area haven't even been in their classrooms since last Monday - that's one entire week.
The TCAP writing test began Tuesday for many of these kids.
Teachers and principals we spoke with are hoping the wild weather we've experienced is gone so kids can better prepare for the exams yet to come. The remaining portions are scheduled for the first week of May.
"We've been learning for almost a year and I have it all in my mind now," says 4th grader Jayden Ringstaff from E. L. Ross Elementary School.
Sheeko Ndegwa spent her snow days learning and prepping for the exam. She's been away from school for 8 days total this year due to wintry weather.
"I did stay inside some, so my mom just gave me work so I didn't have to be on the TV too much," says Ndegwa.
Principal Lisa Erby admits teachers now have to play catch up.
"Just being out those days, that's 8 full days of instruction and we work hard to teach bell to bell, so we teach from the beginning of school to the end of school, and that's a lot of instructional time lost," says Erby.
Cleveland City Schools only have one more snow day available from the 9 they are allocated for the year.
"I think that the weather if it behaves, then we'll be in good shape, anymore days off then we'll adjust the pacing guidelines as needed, but we'll get it done," says Dr. Ringstaff.
Meanwhile, students at Dalewood Middle School in Hamilton County are also prepping for the big test.
"We do have extended learning times for our students, so some of our plans for the school day are really focused on making sure those standards are being taught," says Principal Chris Earl.
The principal says they have to really play catch-up, especially based on the school's status.
"We feel pressure to a certain degree, and I use that term loosely, every day in regards to our students because of our school status and because we're a priority school. So every day is important, every minute in the classroom is important," says Earl.
5th grader Sheeko agrees. She believes missing all those days of school may hinder her from doing well on her TCAP.
"I'm not learning, that's why I wanted to come back," says Ndegwa.
Hamilton County has used all 7 of their banked snow days.
Administrators are working out ways in which kids would make up those days if more snow days are called. One option could be having school on professional in-service days or other planned off days.
By Jerry Askin