Hearing on year-round school model held at State Capitol

Updated: Nov. 9, 2020 at 7:41 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) -Parents have mixed emotions when they hear the phrase “year-round school”.

“It may help the parents trying to navigate where do they send the kids and how that happens," said mom Andria Ward. "Breaks will come. We’ll make family time but I don’t really see that as a bad thing.”

“I don’t like the idea of it. I don’t think it would be beneficial for the parents,” admitted Kelsey McDonald. “It would be harder on the students. I think the students need a break from school.”

That’s why Corinth School District doesn’t call it that.

“We found that we really need to refer to it as a modified calendar rather than year-round school,” said Corinth Superintendent Dr. Lee Childress.

Right now, they are the only district with a modified calendar. But lawmakers are asking questions on how it works if others are looking at the option.

“This hearing, this meeting, is not about mandating year-round schools from the legislature," clarified Sen. Dennis DeBar. "We’re here to learn about the pros and cons of the program.”

Corinth students have two breaks, one in October and another in March. Intersessions are offered at both times for remediation and enrichment. A key benefit when combined with other resources? Trying to prevent what some call the “summer slide”.

“If there are struggling with basic literacy and numeracy skills, it’s far better to start that remediation over this three week period in October than letting them continue to go through school and fall further and further behind,” described Childress.

Right now, Gulfport schools are planning to move to such a schedule next year. And Columbus is also figuring out how to make the transition.

“The department is fully supportive of a modified calendar," said State Superintendent Dr. Carey Wright. "To your point earlier Sen. DeBar, we are not seeing anything in the statutes whatsoever that prevent this from happening. More than happy to support. More than happy to work with districts that want to do this.”

There are several things districts have to weigh when making the switch, including the costs and getting the community on board.

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