Schools explore possibility of a year-round calendar |

Schools explore possibility of a year-round calendar

SUMMIT COUNTY – School in the summertime?Well, not necessarily. But the concept is a serious enough option for the Summit School District that officials are sending representatives to a conference on year-round education this weekend.Members of the district’s calendar committee will travel to San Diego, Calif., for “Thinking Outside the Clock,” a four-day conference organized by the National Association for Year-Round Education (NAYRE).NAYRE, a nonprofit founded in 1972, suggests that year-round learning can alleviate “summer learning loss” and allows a school system full use of its facilities.The conference will feature workshops such as “Sports and year-round education,” “Year-round schools and university partnerships” and “A policy-maker’s perspective: the underexamined school calendar and its impact on students, the school and the community.”The Summit attendees are members of the district’s calendar committee, a group of parents, students and staff charged with developing future school year calendars that maximize student learning.”When we consider the short amount of time that we have in a school year to educate our children and help set their course for success after graduation, the responsible thing to do is to make sure that we are making every day and every minute count,” wrote superintendent Millie Hamner in a recent column in the Summit Daily News.Hamner acknowledged that proposed changes to the school calendar are almost certain to generate controversy but merit close study by district officials nonetheless. The 2005-2006 calendar is already in place with a pre-Labor Day start date – earlier than in recent years – Aug. 31.The total number of school days (174) will remain the same as now.”At this point, we’ve just started the process of looking at all the options,” said Summit Middle School principal Iva Katz-Hesse, who heads the calendar committee. “(A year-round calendar) is not being seriously considered any more than any other option, but we’ve heard that this conference is a great place for information.”Locally, the Summit Learning Center recently experimented with a year-round calendar geared to accommodate the schedules of elite winter athletes. The program closed its doors in December due to financial troubles, but many of its students were enthusiastic about hitting the books in July in order to have more time off during snowy months.The school district’s calendar committee is still in the information-gathering stage and will soon identify a set of standards by which it will create school schedules for 2006-2007 and future years.The committee will make a final recommendation to the school board in December.”We are in the early stages of exploration, and there will be ample opportunity for community input,” Hamner said.Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 203 or

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