Opinion on Balanced Calendar Mixed at RMS

M. Kitts, Reporter

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After several years with a shorter summer break but two week breaks in the fall and spring, new thoughts on the calendar have arisen. In a recent survey, students were asked on their opinion on the balanced calendar. The results were mixed, as some enjoy the longer fall and Spring breaks and the benefits of more time off. However, some find the two-week breaks excessive, feel that the balanced calendar does not solve problems, or think that it even create new issues.

These are the results.

Some find the shorter summer better. “The shorter summer and longer breaks are great. It gives me more time to take a break from school in the fall and spring,” Brandon Bonamarte says. “Also, by the end of the two weeks I’m ready to go back to school. The shorter summer is good because I get excited for the next year and eventually get bored of summer. So shorter summer means less time away from friends, less time I have to wait, and get me back in school so my mom doesn’t have to watch over us!”

The shorter summer can balance out breaks, providing a more equal time between terms. “I do support the balanced calendar concept and the resulting equalizing of days per grading period,” responded sixth grade teacher David Goforth.

In addition, the longer fall and spring breaks can provide extra time for extracurricular activities. “The longer breaks in fall and spring help me catch up on things outside of school such as writing projects or drawings,” commented eighth grader Evelyn Taylor.

Seventh grade teacher Gregory Hamilton also believes the balanced calendar provides better elements. “It offers the opportunity for parents, student, and teachers to take vacations at times other than the summer.  It gives teachers a two-week window in the fall and spring to revise their lessons based on knowledge of the kids.  And it’s nice to recharge your energy during the fall and spring breaks.”

However, some have differing views. “I do not see a difference of ‘learning loss’ with a shorter summer with the balanced calendar,” replied seventh grade teacher Michelle Scott. “What I do see is that after the two-week breaks, it is like starting over again in many ways.  Therefore, we are starting over four times a year… I feel (this) is detrimental to momentum gained. I would rather have two more weeks in the summer and one week for fall and one week for spring.”

Other teachers notice negative elements with the balanced calendar. “The shorter summer has not had any positive impact on summer learning loss.  We are now experiencing learning loss after every break,” sixth grade teacher Laura Scott says. Less learning loss may not be present, and the longer breaks may result in behavioral issues.

Thus, the issue remains largely split. Student Cristofer Hernandez stated, ” I like it how it is right now;” however, others  find it an additional difficulty for a learning environment. As Laura Scott stated, “It’s too hard to get back into the routine after the long fall and spring breaks.”

No matter the opinion, the calendar will continue unless altered in the future by the Oak Ridge School Board. Since the school calendar is approved two years in advance, the 2020-2021 calendar is currently under review.

 

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