Sunday, June 7, 2009

Amen! (but it doesn't matter...)

In the outlook section of today's Washington Post Brigid Schulte writes about how much her children love the modified calendar schedule. She discusses all the ways it's great for academics, how refreshing it is for her children to learn creativity in school, and how the "problem students" tend not to be problem students during intersession. All of this is true, true, true. Amen, Amen, Amen.

She also writes about the districts who are getting rid of modified calendar schools due to the budget crisis. We're one of those districts. I've been too depressed about it to even write about it. We have one more year with our calendar and then it's back to the traditional schedule. I can't even begin to discuss how sad I am by this. Like Schulte says in her article, we're not losing our calendar because it's not valuable. We're losing it because of the budget.

I love the Post's article, and feel that Schulte hits on many of the benefits of our current calendar from a middle-class perspective (I know everything I've written on the subject has been from the perspective of how it benefits our children in poverty).

Part of me wants to send copies of this article to everyone working with the Superintendent, and everyone on the School Board in hopes of changing their minds. But sadly, our battle for keeping our calendar is over.


Anonymous said...

Could you say more about what your calendar looks like now (and next year)? Just because you know what that calendar looks like, doesn't mean I do.

organized chaos said...

Sorry about that! I feel like I was beating a dead horse this fall when our calendar was up for debate so I didn't want to continue to mutalate the horse. But you're right- if you're a new reader you don't know what I'm talking about.
This is from one of my previous posts:
our school is on a modified calendar so we start in july and have two week breaks throughout the school year, ending in june with the regular calendar schools in our county. during those two week breaks the students can pay a very small fee and come to school to attend intersession. each student gets to take two classes, a morning class and an afternoon class. as teachers we have the option to teach for extra pay but we do not have to. we bring in teachers from the community as well so the students get to have "experts" teach classes on plants, etc.
because intersession is a large extra cost on the school district (supplies, teacher pay, six extra weeks of busing) our school district is considering eliminating it. while they realize it is valuable to our students they also feel they just can't afford it. we are still waiting for the final budget approval to know whether or not we'll be year-round next year. there are only seven schools that have this calendar in our large county. i also believe it was brilliantly insightful of the old superintendent to recognize that the communities in our large school district are not the same and that they need different structures to be successful. having only 7 year-round schools is not easy on anybody and creates more paperwork for everyone in the long run, but is also very worth while to those students. i don't think many school districts open themselves up to having different models in different schools and i appreciate that ours did (and i hope they wont be changing that!!)

i support keeping our calendar even if we do not have intersession (partly because i hope that one day the money will be back and we can put intersession back in place, partly because i'm terrified of our kiddos staying home over the summer without us, and partly because i feel the community will step up and supply intersession-like classes for families that need day care. they'll be more expensive but i think that is better than the full summer to themselves. ) however, this is not an option and they will either take away intersession and our calendar or let us keep it at least one more year. keep your fingers crossed for us!!

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If you want more information click on the tag 'year round' and it will explain a lot about our intersessions and our programs. Thanks for asking!

Sarah said...

Bummer! I hate it when money dictates how effective we can be as educators. It happens much, much too often...