Assignment: Education – Flexible Calendar

Seven area school districts will ask for approval from the state to lengthen the school year.

If you spend time in a classroom, you may notice education today is different.

“We’re experiencing so many changes in public education,” said Dale Carlson, Holmen district administrator. “A lot of good things. So many good things. But one of the things that hasn’t changed is that traditional school calendar.”

But a change to the school calendar may be what is needed to keep up with the demands in education.

“We just need more time to work with our students and with our staff,” said Carlson.

So, seven area school districts are considering the idea of starting school in August.

“There is no commitment to anything specific,” said Carlson, “but exploring this idea of how can we do more for our students and our staff by, perhaps, changing something within our calendar.”

“We really think it could be a potential win, win, win,” said Steve Salerno, associate superintendent of human resources for the La Crosse School District.

The La Crosse School District believes there could be real benefits to stretching the school year over a longer time period.

“When we see students come back from the fall, after having been off for the entire summer, we see what’s called some regression in their performance,” said Salerno.

So, as educators work to improve student learning and meet the state’s standards. they believe intersessions, or mid-year breaks, could help some students do better in school.

“It could be enrichment activities for kids,” said Salerno. “It could be remediation for students. It could even be additional professional development for staff.”

“I really am excited about the possibilities of creating more opportunities throughout the course of the school year,” said Carlson. “And so, for me, that would drive that start date or end date to extend or expand our existing calendar.”

This additional time could be what school districts in Western Wisconsin need to keep up with the changes in education.