Strongsville students will get two extra days off this year, although their teachers won't.
The state has approved two "waiver days," additional in-service days for teachers who have been hit with several state-mandated initiatives that have to be in place by next school year.
The days off will be Friday, Feb. 15 and Friday, May 24. In both cases, students are already off the following Monday (for President's Day and Memorial Day), creating four-day weekends.
Assistant Superintendent Cameron Ryba said the days will be used for professional development for all staff members, not just teachers.
Teachers will spend Feb. 15 working on a new state mandate that calls for each student's growth to be measured each school year.
"Teachers have to develop assessments that will demonstrate that growth," Ryba said.
Each teacher has to come up with two to four assessments that will be used next school year.
In May, the teachers will work on another state mandate to overhaul the teacher evaluation system. Ryba said each district has to develop a policy on what the new system will be.
The new initiatives are in addition to state-mandated curriculum changes that are part of the new Ohio Learning Standards, which will hit home with new student testing in the 2014-15 school year.
"Our teachers are hard at work using new strategies, using new techniques to ready the students for that," said Libby Davis, director of curriculum.
The district has already designed -- and is adapting to -- a new way of teaching math and reading, and will spend the rest of the school year tackling science and social studies.
Davis said the new state-imposed curriculum is designed to make students "come out more prepared for real life."
The waiver days do not impact the five calamity days the district has available for school closings, Ryba said.
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