Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Going Year Round

By Jackie Garvey
The Indianapolis Public School district is joining with an estimated 3,000 other public schools nationwide who’ve moved to a year-round calendar.  That’s a little less than 10 percent of all schools but the trend is inching upwards. 

Year-round means many things to many school districts.  For some, it means additional days are added to the typical 180 day school year.  Summer vacation is reduced to a month or less but breaks throughout the year are longer.

For IPS, the initial plan is to stay with 180 days a year.  Summer vacation will be reduced from 10 weeks to 8.  Students and faculty will have two weeks off in October, one week off for Thanksgiving, two weeks off for winter break in December/January and two weeks off in the spring.  

Within those breaks, opportunities for remediation and enrichment are expected to be offered.

The primary reason most school districts give (IPS included) for changing the calendar is so that during a shorter summer break, students have less time to forget what they learned during the school year.  We know it’s true that many children’s families do not have the resources to provide camps and vacations for summer learning experiences during the time away from school.

Yes, we also know that many families have legitimate concerns about childcare, transportation, vacation time and such.  But since this is a done-deal, I would like to hear some thoughts and stories from families who’ve been engaged in year-round school.  Perhaps you could share with other parents and guardians how you have adjusted.  What changes did you make?  How did you cope?  What advice can you share? What are some advantages you’ve experienced?

We look forward to hearing from you.

The Indiana Partnerships Center encourages and enables parents to engage with their child’s school, to the mutual benefit of the child and the school.  The center, which serves all of Indiana, is one of 62 Parental Information Resource Centers funded by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Innovation and Improvement.

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