Baldwin Community Schools move forward with year-round plan
Baldwin Community Schools is making the final push to have students attend class year-round, also known as a balanced school calendar.
School leaders and community members have been working on the plan since October 2013. Teacher, parent and community support has been overwhelming.
According to Baldwin Community Schools Superintendent, Stiles Simmons, a recent survey shows 90-percent support for creating a year-round school calendar.
"I began to do research on the impact of a balance calendar on student achievement and I was somewhat impressed. Then I began to crunch our numbers to see just how much knowledge and skills our students were losing during break and when I got those numbers it was appalling," explained Simmons.
Simmons said his research showed four remedies to help with the skill losses during summer break; summer homework, summer school, adding school days and creating year-round classes.
"Summer homework is unproven, there's not enough participation in summer school, and adding days costs a lot of money. The balanced calendar presented itself as a great way to close achievement gaps," said Simmons.
The final step in the process is to cover the cost of building upgrades, which will include the purchase of air conditioning units for each classroom and common spaces. The school district's electrical infrastructure will also have to be upgraded, along with a Consumers Energy transformer.
The cost is expected to be around $700,000. School leaders will submit a grant application by May 1 to cover the cost and will know by the end of May if the grant is approved.
If the building upgrades are covered, the year-round school calendar will begin this fall. ã??
Under the balanced school calendar, students would attend the same number of days, but summer break would be cut in half to 6-weeks. Fall, spring and holiday breaks would be extended under the plan.
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