RESCHEDULED SCHOOL YEAR (1993)
The League of Women Voters of Marion and Polk Counties recognizes that learning declines in crowded conditions. Adding rooms and buildings may be necessary, but alternatives should be considered before construction begins, and the design of new buildings should provide for flexibility.
Grade reorganization and a changed school calendar may relieve crowding and provide other educational benefits as well. Grade reorganization, such as shifting sixth grade to middle school, is acceptable if proper adjustments to the social environment are made. A multi-track calendar is acceptable in elementary and middle schools. Split shifting may be a short-term solution in secondary schools, where the wide variety of courses makes a multi-track calendar difficult to implement.
There should be public hearings and other opportunities for input from all members of the community before major calendar changes are made. Such changes should first be piloted in a few schools and carefully evaluated for several years. Assessment should involve control groups and pre- and post-testing. Student and parent/guardian satisfaction and attitudes should also be measured. Elements of successful pilot projects should be retained even in times of financial hardship.
Since shortening the summer vacation and lengthening other vacations (year-round school) appears to result in greater learning retention for young children, there is value in piloting such a calendar. The results would be helpful in planning the implementation of HB 3565  or of a multi-track year-round calendar.
Some of the time between the regular sessions of a year-round calendar should be used for remedial learning and assistive learning, tutoring and enrichment.