180 school days: Too many or not enough?

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CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WDTV)- Getting back from the first weekend of the school year, we now have less than 180 more school days to go. While it's probably too early to start a countdown until next summer, it does bring up questions about how many school days are enough for our teachers to teach and our students to learn.

Some teachers at Robert C. Byrd High School say it's not really the number of days in a school year that's most important. It's about how well teachers are able to help students learn information in any amount of time.

"To me there's no magic number," said history teacher Eric Post. "Education's like really anything in life. What you put into it is what you get out of it."

Post has seen the calendar change over the past ten years. He thinks the required 180 days is enough time to teach students what they need to know... But if those days were shifted to start a bit later he'd like it better.

"It's easier to teach in the spring than it is this hot in the summer," he said.

But it's not easier to teach or learn later in the day. Post says two-hour delays make it harder to keep the day rolling smoothly. Rolling smoothly is something necessary for teachers when their students are taking advanced placement classes for college credit and have to pass the AP test. Amy Howe teaches AP science classes and though time is precious, she says there is enough time for students to learn the curriculum. It's doable, but a lot is up to the teacher being organized.

"It's more when you have these kids in your room that you're engaging and that you're doing hands-on," she said. "That they're learning the content regardless of how many ultimate days you have with them.

Howe prefers the block schedule to 45 minute classes. She says 45 minutes can be good for students to study what they learned that day and return to it the next, but breaking up the learning can also be bad. Making it easier comes down to time management for the teacher and the student.

"By the time you actually grab the iPads, hand the handout out, talk about what you're doing, you may have five minutes into your class, your precious 45 minutes, you're already counting down," she said.

See the video above to learn more about how AP classes and time management fit into the 180 days.