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Wednesday, June 19
The Indiana Daily Student

education

Local school year to remain "traditional"

Monroe County schools started a week earlier this year, Aug. 7. Next year they will start three days earlier than that.

Beverly Smith, director of school and community services for the Monroe County Community School Corporation, explained the schools’ shifting calendar.

“We still have a traditional school year,” Smith said. “We did change our calendars and started a week earlier this year.”

The traditional school year includes a fall through spring year, with a long, ten-week summer break.

Janice Bergeson, MCCSC director of Secondary Education, said the number of days in a school year is 180, no matter what.

“Everyone uses 180 days,” Bergeson said. “I don’t know of any school that could financially afford longer.”

However, some schools have started moving away from the traditional school year in favor of a year-round school year with more frequent, shorter breaks.

“It is something to watch,” Bergeson said. “Others have done so in other states. It’s been popular out east, but not really in Indiana.”

Bergeson said favorable research and opinions can be found for both options.

“Some research says kids lose academic understanding with longer breaks, but some says otherwise,” Bergeson said. “Parents are on both sides too. We shortened summer by a week this year, but we get a week off for Thanksgiving. Some like it, some don’t. It just depends on who you talk to.”

Bergeson said this school year’s schedule was decided last fall, during a 4-month period where a committee determined what the best course of action would be.

“The committee worked through what other schools had done, research, and opinions of parents and teachers, and determined the calendar,” she said.

Bergeson said the new school year was determined in part by IU’s calendar.

“We try to align our schedule with IU, some parents like that,” she said. “They tend to give more breaks throughout the year.”

After the four months, the committee decided on a three-year plan for MCCSC’s calendar.

“Parents were tired of the one-year plans that were used,” Bergeson said. “They want to know what it’s like for multiple years. That way they can plan their vacations, because some families do plan that far in advance ... Like it or not, it’s stable,” she added.

Smith said the main goal of the school calendar is to maximize benefits for students.
“You want kids to get the best education possible,” she said.

While options are out there, Bergeson said MCCSC would stick to its current schedule for now.

“There are no discussions for change now,” she said. “Our next look will be in three years, when the schedule runs out. That’s the plan.”

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