January 24, 2014 - 2:29 PM
YEAR-ROUND CALENDAR PROPOSED AT VERNON SCHOOL
VERNON - An elementary school in Vernon could be the first in the B.C. Interior to switch to a year-round school calendar.
Mission Hill Elementary will hold a vote in early February, asking parents, teachers and support staff to say yay or nay to a balanced calendar. It would mean trimming days from the nine week summer break and dispersing them more evenly throughout the year.
Mission Hill principal Lynne Gibson believes it would have positive effects on wellness and learning.
“Staff and students aren’t waiting for that long summer break, they’ve had the opportunity to take mental and physical breaks from school (year-round) and can come back ready to work without losing any ground,” Gibson says.
The province changed legislation in April 2012 to give individual school districts the choice to set their own schedules, rather than forcing the traditional September to June calendar.
The Vernon school district has indicated they would like 90 per cent of votes to be in favour of the year-round calendar before proceeding with the change, Gibson says.
Several meetings have been held with parents and community groups to discuss the idea.
“We’ve certainly had lots of parents saying this is a great idea,” Gibson says. “Others say ‘I’m not sure I want to do this.’”
Anonymous feedback from parents praised the idea as easing the transition from summer break back to school, reducing boredom in class, minimizing burnout, and providing opportunities for field trips in every season.
But there are concerns as well. Parents are worried about their kids transitioning to the year-round schedule when they go to high school. And what if one child is at Mission Hill, and another at a school with the traditional schedule—how do parents organize trips? Other concerns revolved around the impact on community youth facilities.
Gibson says parents would have input on when and how long the new breaks are if a balanced calendar is adopted.
The Ministry of Education is aware of just five other schools in the province that have adopted the new schedule. They include: Spul'u'kwuks Elementary School and Garden City Elementary, both in Richmond, Douglas Park Elementary in Langley, Kanaka Creek Elementary in Maple Ridge and Cataline Elementary in Williams Lake.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014