Bellwood Elementary School in Chesterfield County is switching to a year-round schedule — nine weeks on, three weeks off — for the 2018-19 school year. The new schedule will eliminate the long summer break during which students forget much of what they learned the previous school year.
“Research demonstrates that summer learning loss is a critical issue, especially for economically disadvantaged students,” wrote Superintendent James Lane in addressing the Chesterfield School Board. “One study found that low income students made similar achievement gains … during the school year, but the widening of the achievement gap between the two groups occurred over the summer… One way to combat these issues is year-round schools.”
But the change has gotten some push back from parents, reports WTVR Television.
“I’ve got five students in three different schools in the Chesterfield district and right now 65 of those days are conflicted schedules so it’s going to be very hard,” said Bellwood parent Elizabeth Young. “If it were county-wide it may be a little easier to step into, but doing it with just this one school, it’s going to be hard for a lot of families in this area that depend on their older kids for child care.”
The pilot project will cost $125,000 per year, mainly for staffing and transportation.
Bacon’s bottom line: Wake County, N.C. has a year-round school schedule, and my sister-in-law’s family seemed to like it. I don’t know whether or not the shorter breaks improved my nephews’ academic retention, but they seem no worse for the wear. The key to a worthwhile pilot program, of course, is to set it up as much as possible like a scientific experiment — measuring key attributes before, during, and after the school year to see if the putative benefits meet expectations. Conducting a pilot without putting proper measurements in place is worse than useless, it’s a waste of money.
As long as school districts design their pilot programs to learn from them, they should not be afraid to experiment and should not be afraid to fail. If you never fail, one learns little and never progresses.There are currently no comments highlighted.