Four CMS schools that serve pre-k through 8th graders could move to a year-round calendar next year in an effort to boost learning. The CMS school board plans to vote on the proposal tonight.
All kids have experienced the “summer slide.” When students get back to school in the fall, they spend time re-learning what they forgot over the summer. But for low-income kids, that backsliding can be even bigger since camp and other enriching activities are harder to come by.
Project LIFT is trying to boost learning at nine schools in west Charlotte. Extending the school year is part of the plan. The group’s director Denise Watts spent the last few months gauging whether these schools would get behind the idea.
“More than half of the achievement gap between lower- and high-income youth can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities. As a result, low-income youth are less likely to graduate from high school,” Watts told parents in October.
Project Lift has decided to recommend year-round school for Druid Hills and Thomasboro Academies. Kids would go to school nineteen extra days and have breaks every couple months. Under the plan, Bruns Academy and Walter G. Byers students would also go to school for part of the summer, but they’d stay on a 180 day school year.
Diane Williams has two children at Thomasboro. Back in October, she was excited about the prospect of year-round school.
“A lot of the children on the side of town where I live, they don’t have anything to do for the summer. Most of them probably don’t even read a book from June until they go back to school in August. So [the year-round schools] will be something great for them,” said Williams.
Other parents worried having kids in the same family on two different calendars would create scheduling headaches. Plus, some pointed out the research was mixed on whether students’ performance improved with year-round school.
Extending the school year for these schools is expected to cost about $2 million extra. Project LIFT plans to pay for that. At this point, no CMS schools go year-round.