Balanced Schedule School For St. William School in the 2016-17 School Year Research and Overview: “Recent education reports suggest that policymakers and educators must consider changing learning time policies and programs. Indeed, it may be time to seriously evaluate more current and viable alternatives to traditional school calendars, leaving nothing off the table to improve the achievement of an increasingly diverse student population.” Silva Report 2007 “Considering the history of America’s traditional public school calendar, the needs of students have certainly changed since the late 19th and early 20th centuries, yet the educational system continues to rely on a schedule whose roots can be traced back to about 150 years ago.” Education Policy Brief:  Why we are looking at a Balanced Calendar… • Increased Rigor of the Common Core/Archdiocesan curriculum…higher learning expectations of all students • Time for remediation throughout the year…not just in the summer. • No longer mainly an agrarian culture • Less learning lost over long summer break • Family vacation time throughout year (each season) • Students will have more time to recharge (which may be increasingly important with increased rigor/expectations). • Seeing successful results in Central Indiana, DesPlaines, and other areas using this calendar History: Farming v Service Industry • When formal schooling was first established, the school calendar fit the needs of a particular community. • When families became more mobile, the calendar was standardized. • The current 9-month calendar that most schools operate on was established when 85% of Americans (and students) were involved in agriculture, and when climate control did not exist in school buildings. • In today’s United States, only 3% of Americans are engaged in agriculture and none of our school families at St. William are farmers. Long, Expensive Summers: 4-5 weeks for summer fun, activities and camp v 7-8 weeks of boredom, expense and stress • We need to purchase only five more air conditioners (which we will be able to do this summer with money from Market Day proceeds) to have every classroom climate controlled. • What worked 150 years ago, does not make sense in today’s society where both parents work away from the home and children are left alone during long summer breaks. • Or, parents have to find alternative care for their children at a large expense to the family. Facts: A fun, safe place to be! • Research shows a correlation (albeit slight) between a Balanced Calendar and improved test scores. • All studies show a dramatic increase in attendance attributed to families having more opportunities to plan vacations during breaks and students having a better resistance to illness. • Additional studies also show a dramatic decrease in discipline referrals for reasons unbeknownst. More Rigorous Curriculum: • • • Common Core Standards and Archdiocesan Standards are demanding more from our students and student-owned learning. Less brain-drain = More time to learn • Research studies revealed that the drop-off in student retention over long summer breaks averaged a loss of: • 2.6 months of grade-level equivalency in Math, • 2.0 months in Reading, • when students follow Traditional calendars • in comparison to 1.0 and .8 months, respectively, within Balanced Schedule models. Obstacles to a Balanced Schedule School: -Just because something’s always been done that way, doesn’t mean it should continue to be done that way. -Think about what is best for your children and family life… • Lack of research that shows dramatic academic improvement on student achievement • Summer employment and professional education time for teachers would be impacted • Summer sports schedules may be impacted – though most baseball leagues are over by July 4th in this area of Chicago • Older children or neighborhood friends may be on a different schedule – though most vacation times will overlap Arguments FOR a Balanced Schedule School: We love St. William School! • Reduces the amount of material students forget over the summer • More instructional time • Balanced planning and instruction throughout the school year based on individual student progress following each marking period • Attendance increases; discipline problems decrease • Burn out for both students and teachers lessen • No significant impact to the school budget What’s Next? Talk about it… Ask questions… Then, please answer the survey on March 27th and return it by April 2nd, before Easter Vacation.
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