The days keep adding up
Do you remember when school began after Labor Day and ended before Memorial Day?
It may be a faint memory, floating around with other childhood memories in your head, but there was a time when the school year was September to May.
Of course, just like everything in the world, school evolved. As the 20th Century turned into the 21st Century, it seems a multitude of policies, rules and regulations overshadowed the education of our youth.
Now, with the mandatory 180 days of instruction, the school calendar has consumed days, and now, weeks of the summer to meet the regulations.
Now, students are attending school from August to June and are still struggling to get their 180 days.
The one obstacle Pocahontas County in particular is facing, begins with Mother and ends with Nature. Yes, the fair maiden who decides when the seasons change and what kind of weather each season will contain.
Since it seems Mother Nature rather enjoys covering our county with a three-month long snow quilt, students and schools have to suffer the consequences.
To beat the deity at her own game, the school system is going to have to change it up a bit. I feel the solution is a year round calendar.
Now, I know what you're thinking, 'That's never going pass.' I know, because I thought that, too. I remember counting the days down to summer vacation because I couldn't wait for three months of no responsibilities and, more importantly, no studying.
If you would have told me a month ago that the school board was considering a year-round calendar, I would have been the first on the protest line. But now, after a little research and an eye opening conversation with a Kanawha County principal who changed his school to a year-round calendar 14 years ago, I've changed my views.
Now, before I share my views, I want to make it clear to you that the school board is not discussing a change in the calendar. It is simply an option they may have to consider in the future.
A year-round school calendar may sound like it will slight the students and teachers of the vacations they are used to, but it really doesn't. The vacations only fall at different times.
The calendar consists of a nine weeks of school and three weeks of vacation cycle. Yes, that means students will be in school during the summer months, but it also means they have three weeks off in the winter, spring, summer and fall.
There are many benefits to this calendar.
Do any of you remember hearing this from your child during summer vacation? 'I'm bored. There's nothing to do.' I'm sure you've heard it, because I remember saying it myself. The benefit of a three-week vacation in between each nine weeks period is that you children aren't given the opportunity to be bored.
It also helps them retain information better, which will lead to better grades and higher test scores.When you only have three weeks of idle time, you are less likely to forget everything you learned prior to that time.
Higher test scores are always a positive, because high test scores lead to funding and we are always willing to get more funding in the school system.
Along with the possibility of receiving more money, the schools have a chance of saving money with the year-round calendar.
Having three weeks of vacation sprinkled evenly throughout the school year, it's easier for teachers to schedule doctor's appointments for themselves and their children. Being able to schedule those in the three-week span, the teachers don't need to take a day off work. Then, the school saves money because they don't need to use substitute teachers as often.
This calendar may be a hard sell to many people, I was one of them, but if we want to continue to give our children the best education possible, we have to make changes.