Thursday, July 17, 2014

Schools to study balanced calendar

Yesterday we reported about the county school system's proposal to move to a balanced calendar.

In the coming months, advocates will bombard us with all sorts of reasons and stats that shows why this will better educate students.

It might. I don't know. What I do know, however, is that if a student doesn't give a crap about learning, then shortening the summer and giving them other "enrichment" opportunities isn't going to make a difference.

That said, this is probably the new wave. I imagine in 10-15 years pretty much every school system in the country will be on a similar calendar. (It also should be noted that the current calendar is based on a more agricultural society in which the students would spend summers working the harvests - that's why they needed that long time off. We've obviously moved away from all that for the most part.)
Here's part of the story about what to expect, including link to the full story.

The Knox County Schools administration wants to look into shifting the system's traditional school calendar to a "balanced" one – a proposal that would shorten summer breaks, but provide more learning opportunities for students, officials say.

However, such a move – if done – is still a long ways off and would need buy-in from the public and the Board of Education.

"We'll have to have a lot more community discussion and dialogue before we move forward with this concept," said Knox County Schools Superintendent Jim McIntyre. "We absolutely want to make sure we have a great deal of public dialogue and feedback and discourse on this idea."

The proposal is a small part of the administration's 49-page "Strategic Plan – Excellence for Every Child" that the school board approved on first reading earlier this month and will take up again in August. The plan is filled mostly with a series of goals and aspirations, and school leaders say it's the blueprint they want to use to better educate students and improve the overall system during the next five years.

One of the ways to do that, the plan notes, is to avoid "the trap of passively agreeing to 'do school as it has always been done,'" and, instead, to challenge "traditional assumptions and conventional wisdom so we can craft learning environments that prioritize improving student achievement."

The plan suggests examining how the current "school schedule and the academic calendar may be used to maximize" student learning.

Still, there's a lot that has to happen before anything changes.

First, the school board has to approve the overall strategic plan during its Aug. 6 voting meeting.

Then, the administration has to further research the concept and hold a series of public meetings for more input.

Finally, the BOE would have to approve the balanced calendar.

Also, since the administration has set the schedules for this upcoming year, which starts in August, and for the following one, it wouldn't implement any changes until the 2016-17 school year at the earliest.

You can read the entire story, which includes fancy charts, video, pictures, etc., RIGHT SMACK HERE.

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