West Virginia Education Officials Study Year-Round School

Courtney Williams's picture
Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The West Virginia Department of Education has formed an internal committee to study whether year-round school would work.

Betty Jordan, executive assistant to the state superintendent, said the group is reviewing literature and research to determine what concerns would be raised if this schedule were implemented.

The group is addressing one frequently expressed complaint by calling the schedule a balanced calendar.

"There's a misnomer that year-round school automatically means that we're going to add more days to the school calendar, and that kids are going to go to school all the time, and that they're [not] going to have any time off," Jordan said.

"We believe that balanced calendar more accurately reflects the work and the direction in that we take our existing 180 days and we create a calendar that really does balance the amount of instructional time and then time when students are in breaks so that it's more evenly distributed throughout the year."

With the current calendar, students are out of school about eight to 10 weeks in the summer. That creates a learning slide where they forget some of what they learned during the previous school year.

Jordan said about 60 percent of West Virginia's children live in poverty and the slide is even bigger for them.

"The data indicate that, for most children of poverty, that they experience a learning slide of about three to four months of progress in mathematics and two to three months in reading," Jordan said.

"What that means is from the time that they finish school in June and then when they re-engage in school in August, September, they have lost about three or four months of learning."

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