Change in school calendar means 2 more weeks of summer vacation - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Change in school calendar means 2 more weeks of summer vacation for West Clark students

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Students in the West Clark Community Schools district will get two more weeks of summer next year after a change in the school calendar.

Word of the change traveled fast in middle school.

"I heard, like, a little rumor of maybe something," said Brianna Balmer, an 8th grader at Silver Creek Middle School. 

But this time, the rumors are true for Balmer and her friend. The West Clark School Board voted to end the the use of the so-called "balanced calendar." Instead of school getting out in June, and kids going back in July. The new school year will run from Aug. 8th, 2018 and end May 24th, 2019. 

"I think that's definitely an improvement," said Rebecca Schwartz, an 8th grader. 

The longer summer vacation means shorter mid-year breaks, with one week instead of two for fall and spring.

"I don't like that the breaks are shorter, but I like that the summer is longer," said Cheyenne Palmer, a 7th grader. 

"I'd prefer the two weeks during the year," Blamer admitted. 

Most southern Indiana school districts shifted to a 9-week-on, 2-week-off school schedule in an effort to address the summer brain drain.

"We didn't see a significant difference for us in test scores, so when we looked at the calendar and then polling teachers and students, we just felt like it was a better decision for West Clark to go back to the -- we call it the 'traditional calendar,' but it's not quite traditional," explained Doug Coffman of the West Clark Community Schools board.

In fact, the new calendar is less traditional as it includes three "e-learning days," where students do regular classwork online from home.

The e-learning days are scheduled for October 15th, 2018 and April 1st and May 6th, 2019. Coffman says e-learning may also replace snow days.

But there's a problem: the calendar is now out of line with neighboring school systems. A side-by-side comparison with New Albany's school calendar shows that the breaks and start days don't line up. That's important because students from both districts feed into Prosser Career Education Center, a southern Indiana vocational school. 

"We're all trying to get on the same page," said Coffman.

Greater Clark Community Schools and Clarksville Community School Corporation have yet to vote on a school calendar. West Clark Community Schools is hoping they follow suit on a longer summer. 

In the meantime, West Clark students say they already have plans on what they will be doing during those two extra weeks of summer. 

Seventh grader Bryson Ledbetter says he plans to, "play more sports and hang out with friends."

Indiana state law requires 180 instructional days for public school children. 

Copyright 2017 by WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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