On March 15, the School Board voted to maintain the traditional calendar for the 2021-2022 school year, but move forward with the year-round calendar for the 2022-2023 year. Along with the reopening plan for RPS, the year-round school proposal has had heated discussion for the past few months among school board members, teachers, and parents alike. Here is a quick and dirty overview of the proposal and it’s journey through the School Board.
Prior to the School Board meeting on February 16, 2021, Superintendent Jason Kamras’ shared the updated proposal on the new year-round schooling, Spring 2021 – Fall 2023 Calendar. The proposal added 3 weeks of extra schooling in July/August right before school (“Jump Start”), 2 weeks in November (“Fall Boost”), and 2 weeks in March (“Spring Boost”). This would be prioritized for the 5000 highest-need students, but of course it will require parents to opt-in to the offering. Students who partake in the program would still have 5 weeks of summer, while others would have 8 weeks. The full proposal can be accessed here.
During the meeting, School board members were divided on whether to keep the discussion on this proposal in the agenda. Some school board members stated that year round schools are a deflection. “We need to prioritize kids over content.” The board is being too “all over the place” and not focusing on one thing well. It is not the time to discuss a year-round calendar when they haven’t solidified how to reopen schools. Other members also felt that surveys had not been properly circulated to parents and teachers to get meaningful feedback from them.
Certain citizen comments also touched upon some worries. Some parents miss the opportunities to allow students to have summer experiences, whether it be travel or camps. However, others welcome it, stating that a great deal of knowledge is lost when students have too much time off during the summer.
During the March 15 School Board meeting, another updated look into the proposed 2021-2022 calendar was given. The report also provided a detailed analysis on the survey results taken from caregivers/parents and teachers/support staff. The full report/calendar can be found here.
Ultimately, a compromise was made during the meeting, in which the 2021-2022 school year will keep the traditional calendar, while the 2022-2023 school year will use the new calendar.