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Atlanta Public Schools will add 30 minutes to school day to make up lost time


Atlanta Public Schools will make up seven days lost to bad weather this year by adding 30 minutes to the end of the day from Jan. 29 through March 30. (Schools not operating on the district schedule will also add 30 minutes to their instructional day.)

This means:

  • Elementary schools will release at 3 p.m.
  • High schools will release at 4 p.m.
  • Middle schools will release at 4:35 p.m.

Here is the official statement tonight from APS:

Before making a decision on a plan for make-up days, APS Superintendent Dr. Meria Carstarphen wanted to hear directly from stakeholders in APS. The district gathered feedback from parents, principals, students, staff, and the community and issued a survey on the topic, outlining six options for making up the missed days. By the Sunday, January 21 deadline at 11:45 p.m., 14,421 people had completed the survey, selecting option five, which would extend the school day by 30 minutes.

“With each school cancellation, I grew more concerned about the significant loss of instructional time our students had suffered,” said Dr. Carstarphen. “Although Atlanta Public Schools has the flexibility and autonomy with operational decisions and is therefore not required by the state to make up days, we know that it’s important to identify possible options for our community to consider and weigh in on. Stakeholder feedback influenced our decision significantly.”

Total survey responses 14,421

  • Students: 2,976 (20.64%)
  • Parents: 6,973 (48.35%)
  • Employees: 3,945 (27.36%)
  • Community: 527 (3.65%)

  Total option responses

  • Option 1: 2,183 (15.14%)
  • Option 2: 1,188 (8.24%)
  • Option 3: 2,583 (17.91%)
  • Option 4: 1,066 (7.39%)
  • Option 5: 4,021 (27.88%)
  • Option 6: 3,380 (23.44%)

In addition, APS surveyed principals separately and nearly half of them (49%) preferred Option 5.

APS is coordinating with principals on schedules that maximize the additional instructional time; altering schedules in the Transportation Department, including plans for student athletes and teams; and working with the Human Resources and Finance departments to ensure that the plan will be cost-neutral.


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Maureen Downey has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy since the 1990s.