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School Calendar to Stop Summer Brain Drain?

Planning for DeKalb's 2013-14 "balanced" school calendar is underway.

A group of DeKalb County's teachers, principals and parents met Tuesday to develop multiple calendar options for the 2013-14 school year. 

Among the options under consideration is a “balanced calendar” that will reduce the summer break by two weeks and include an additional week of vacation each semester. 

Another possibility is a weekly “early release” to allow for additional professional development for teachers. 

The options this group ultimately agrees upon will be unveiled Sept. 17 and made available for public comment until Sept. 26. Superintendent will then make her recommendation to the DeKalb County Board of Education on Oct. 1. 

The board will vote on a final calendar Oct. 8. 

“The process for creating a comprehensive school calendar requires high levels of flexibility and thoughtfulness,” said Sequoyah Middle Principal Brittany Cunningham. “While scheduling 180 days of instruction, we must also build in nine teacher workdays, accommodate for holidays and adhere to state designated testing dates, and do so in a manner that best suits our students,
employees and greater community.”

Similar calendars have been used by other districts that reduce the amount of time students are away from the classroom and thus prevent “summer brain drain.”

How do you feel about some of these calendar options? Tell us in the comments below.

From a statement by the DeKalb County School District.

H.A. Hurley September 06, 2012 at 12:15 PM
Adding one more change to the children, families and the county is irresponsible. Please take care of all the issues SACS is looking into, stop the financial bleeding, fix up aging schools, pay your teachers, provide the instruction necessary for all of our students, provide and maintain technology for instruction, and run a system that is honost and ethical. We are all paying for the incompetence of DCS leadership. Dekalb used to be the BEST place for children. No more! Get busy and stop the bleeding! A balanced calendar requires more planning, coordinating and communicating - which your leadership is not capable of at this time. You continue to create a mess. Stop the knee-jerk management and perform your duties.
JN September 06, 2012 at 02:11 PM
School is not daycare. Children BENEFIT from a three-month block of time spent doing things other than the planned curriculum. Let them go to camp, take lessons of some sort, focus on art, music, computer programming or whatever else interests them. They can visit their grandparents or other relatives. Let them think for themselves and remind them that they are more than just students.
Fern September 06, 2012 at 09:13 PM
Georgia students need ALL the class time they can get (test results a testament to that fact)! I'd vote for a year-round calendar - such as had been introduced in California some time ago. Education is for a lifetime and that includes the summer months - since we're no longer an agrarian society and the reason for summer vacations no longer exists.
H.A. Hurley September 07, 2012 at 02:49 AM
The calendar proposed does NOT call for more days for the students. The same number of school days will be spread out over the calendar year. This will typically result in more extended periods of vacations. Those breaks cause supervision problems for families and time off for teachers. Research does not support increased achievement with this type of calendar. If we were truly serious about education, we would increase the number of school days per year (180+ days). Changing the regular calendar now only creates chaos, especially, since DCS has not been able to accomplish the simplest of tasks. Fix what is broken...you have plenty to do.
H.A. Hurley September 07, 2012 at 03:12 AM
I welcome SACS to check on DCS. The Board and the Superintendent do not respect the residents of Dekalb County by voting to hold a 'Closed meeting'. Too much has been happening behind closed doors. Our students are paying a high price for the mess created throughout the years, and new leadership has not made any difference. Business as usual! Please visit schools in other metro systems and compare the conditions of the schools, the materials in the classrooms, the technology available and integrated into instruction, retaining the staff, energized schools, trained leadership and with efficiency of running a system. Please educate yourselves and do the right thing for the students, teachers and families.

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