Balanced School Calendars Area Schools Look at the Model Argos Culver John Glenn North Judson Oregon Davis Plymouth Knox Triton A Balanced Calendar is NOT the same as a Year Round Calendar… “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) Agenda What is a Balanced Calendar? Why Consider a Balanced Calendar? Indiana Survey of Balanced Calendar Maconaquah School Survey Things to Consider Secondary Gains Challenges Questions Account of Current Calendar System: When formal schooling was first established, the school calendar fit the needs of a particular community. When families became more mobile, the school 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 about 3% of Americans are engaged in agriculture. Also, most schools have air conditioning, making it possible for students to be there in the hotter months. “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:  What is a balanced calendar? • Not a year-round calendar • Still 180 days • Have 8 weeks off in the summer • Starts in August and ends in early June • Has intercessions (breaks for remediation and vacation) A BALANCED CALENDAR IS NOT THE SAME AS A YEAR ROUND CALENDAR… A Balanced Calendar gets its name because the “breaks” away from school are more “balanced” and evenly distributed throughout the school year. Why consider a balanced calendar? • Most research shows a correlation [albeit slight] between the 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 illnesses. • Additional studies also show a dramatic decrease in discipline referrals for reasons unbeknownst. • Finally, 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, and 2.0 in Reading, when students follow Traditional calendars—in comparison to 1.0 and .8 months, respectively, within Balanced models. Why a Balanced Calendar? • Increased Rigor of the curriculum…higher learning expectations of all students • Time for remediation throughout the year…not just in the summer. • Ongoing credit recovery opportunities for high school students • 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 re-charge (which may be increasingly important with increased rigor/expectations). • Seeing successful results in Central Indiana and other areas using this calendar Indiana Survey on School Calendars (2012) • 11,175 people responded to the survey • 90% felt local school boards should decide their school calendar…not the legislators. • 81% wanted built in snow days. As opposed to adding missed days on at the end of the year. • 57% wanted a traditional calendar and 42% wanted a balanced calendar. Start and End Dates for the Year More Survey Results 180 School Days per Year is a requirement in Indiana Raw Numbers for Answers to Start and End Date Start Mid-August and End before Memorial Day 4,008 Start Week of Aug.20 and End Week of Memorial Day 3,504 Start last week of Aug. and End 1st Week of June 1,830 Start After Labor Day and End Mid-June 1,623 Skipped Question 85 Maconaquah Balanced Calendar Survey 836 Responses Question 1: I am a student, Staff Member, or Parent 66% Students 27% Staff Members 8% Parents Question 2: I like the balanced calendar that was in place for the 2011-2012 school year in the Maconaquah School Corporation. 58% 24% 9% 9% Strongly Agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree Question 3: I like having a two-week fall and spring break which is called “intercession”. 65% 22% 8% 4% Strongly Agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree Survey Results Continued Question 4: I (or my child) learn better due to having additional remediation sessions throughout the year. 40% Strongly Agree 30% Agree 18% Disagree 11% Strongly Disagree Question 5: An 8-week summer break is enough vacation for me 26% Strongly Agree 34% Agree 12% Disagree 27% Strongly Disagree Question 6: Athletics are harmed by a balanced calendar. 7% Strongly Agree 28% Agree 40% Disagree 23% Strongly Disagree Survey Results (final) • Question 7: I have experienced childcare issues as a result of the balanced calendar. • • • • 11% Strongly Agree 12 % Agree 24% Disagree 52% Strongly Disagree • Question 8: I have found more advantages for my family (vacations, family time, etc.) since our students are on a balanced calendar. • • • • 53% Strongly Agree 24% Agree 16% Disagree 8% Strongly Disagree • Question 9: The Maconaquah Schools should consider returning to a traditional calendar. • • • • 16% Strongly Agree 17% Agree 21% Disagree 50% Strongly Disagree Maconaquah and Rochester • Maconaquah is now using the balanced calendar for the third consecutive year (2013-2014) • Rochester is now using the balanced calendar for the 7th year. Things to Consider… • Most School Improvement Plan Goals Address: • Increase Student Achievement • Improve Staff/Student Attendance • Improve Graduation Rate The balanced calendar addresses all of these areas. Consider… Costs • Transportation • Intercessions replace summer school for remediation • May add trips for enrichment during intercession • Salaries • Salaries-May need to break salaries into 25 pays since we start earlier • Would use summer school/remediation funds to cover intercession salaries?? Consider…Results • Results from districts already using a balanced calendar: • Reduced failure rates • Increased graduation rates • Fewer discipline referrals • Higher staff and student attendance • Teachers and students report higher morale Secondary Gains… • Informal thoughts… • Opportunities for family vacations all four seasons • Remediate as the year goes and students start to fall behind…not just in the summer • Some students are motivated to try harder so they get the extra time off and don’t have to go to remediation • Increased opportunities for enrichment/ field trips • Extra time for teachers to adjust and reflect on teaching progress and practice • Intercession is a time to make-up attendance or work with students who are seriously behind…especially for at-risk seniors • Spring athletes get a spring break • Could be a time for professional development for teachers Challenges/Issues to be Addressed • • • • Surprise…People do not like change! Some families have to change day care schedules Need to require attendance at intercessions?? Conflict with special education and vocational classes if all schools not on the same calendar • Impact on athletics- 2 a day practices at the beginning of the year?? • Early summer/late summer conflicts (like AAU, state fair, military, camps, teacher conferences) • Summer jobs for students and staff? • Transportation during intercessions? QUESTIONS ???