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WB Considering Year-Round School

The West Burlington School District is considering a year-round calendar for the 2015-2016 school year.

Superintendent Dave Schmitt says a "balanced" calendar would feature extended breaks (two weeks) after the first and third quarters and a roughly six-week summer vacation.

That would be a contrast to the current calendar as students will have about ten weeks off this summer, as long as there are no more snow days.

Schmitt says a balanced calendar is being considered to counter the amount of learning lost during a longer summer vacation, in particular for lower-income students.

"The research supports the contention that those students who are from an economically-deprived types of families have a more difficult time with retaining knowledge," says Schmitt.

Schmitt says the district will collect input from students, parents, guardians, businesses and the community at-large throughout the fall.

That information will be presented to the West Burlington School Board so the panel can make a decision in December on whether to proceed on a balanced calendar for the 2015-2016 school year.

TIMELINE (provided by Schmitt)

Fall 2014 – Board creates a master plan to best research and ponder a balanced calendar decision in December 2014.

I suggest we hold focus group meetings and face-to-face meetings for various groups:
August 2014 – The City of West Burlington
Early September 2014 – Staff focus meetings
Late September 2014 – Input from West Burlington businesses and other community stakeholders
Early October 2014 – Work with the Greater Burlington Partnership and hold a focus group getting input from the Chamber of Commerce

Late October 2014 – Input from our students.
Administrators will head an academic impact committee examining the impact of teaching and learning, excluding all of the other influences.

November 2014 – Revisit the staff.
Conduct two public input sessions providing opportunity to speak directly to the board and the community.

December 2014 – The board will weigh the pros and cons of a balanced calendar, and will make the decision to direct or not direct the superintendent to develop a master calendar.

January 2015 – Board will make a final decision on the 2015-2016 calendar.

February2015 – Finalize all decisions in regard to the balanced calendar and work on implementing fall 2016.

• Athletics and activities
• Family vacations
• WB community in general
• Spouse working in Burlington
• Swimming pool and summer activities
• Impact on Graduation
• Impact on summer school
• District provided PD impact
• AEA or other outside/summer PD
• Parent/Teacher conferences
• Union contract
• Kids summer jobs

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.