MISSOURI — Most local students are counting down the days to summer break. But some in the education community say it’s time to rethink the school calendar, and shorten or eliminate that time off.
“I don’t know how well I would have liked it. I enjoyed my summers off and needed that time to recoup,” said Dr. Melissa Massey, SW CTR For Ed. Excellence.
But that doesn’t mean Dr. Melissa Massey is against a year round school calendar.
“In that 11 month calendar there are many breaks built in instead of just your Christmas breaks or your holiday breaks and your spring break. You have those a lot more often,” said Dr. Massey.
She’s the head of the Southwest Center for Educational Excellence. And she adds, a calendar overhaul could significantly reduce the learning loss some students experience during all those weeks off.
“They’re off June, July and pretty much all of August. And there was a time in our country where that was so they could go work on the farm. They’re not going to work on the farm now,” said Dr. Jim Cummins, Neosho R-5 Superintendent.
Neosho Superintendent Dr. Jim Cummins is an advocate for expanding classes in the summer.
“Let’s allow the whole calendar to be used. So, take the month of July off have a two week break at Christmas have a two week break in October and a two week break in March or something.” said Dr. Cummins.
He believes it would benefit students and teachers.
“And so we have a teacher that just bust their tail for nine months to get a student caught up that maybe never had a book read to him. They get him to a point where they’re making progress or showing great gain, and then they do nothing for three months,” said Dr. Cummins.
The National Association for Year Round Schooling points to several schools which have made the switch, but it’s still just a small fraction. Dr. Cummins adds it would not be a small undertaking in Missouri.
“No. It would not be. A lot of minds would have to be changed,” said Dr. Cummins.
“I really think the way you have to do that though, is based on your community. That requires a lot of community meetings, what your community is comfortable with, what’s convenient for your community. Because some communities want that summer off, they travel for ball and they travel for sports and for aid and extracurricular activities,” said Dr. Massey.