Schools considering 'balanced calendar'

WALKERTON, IND. -- Several Michiana schools are considering moving away from a normal school year and transitioning to a 'balanced calendar.'

Parents packed a meeting at John Glenn High School Thursday night to learn more about the proposal.

Under a balanced calendar, students would still go to school for 180 days out of the year, but with different breaks.

"The concept is you have more breaks," said Superintendent Richard Reese. "A couple weeks at fall, a couple weeks at Christmas, a couple weeks at spring."

Reese says he believes the schedule change could help reduce disciplinary issues and increase graduation rates. During the second week of the fall and spring breaks, students who are struggling would have the opportunity to come in and get extra help. Typically, they have to wait until summer school to catch up.

"The feedback that we're getting tells us that students and parents and teachers where there is a balanced calendar feel as though they come back more refreshed," Reese said.

Parents had a lot of questions about the idea, particularly about how it could impact athletics or childcare. Some were also worried about the additional costs that could be associated with a balanced year, but Reese says they would be minimal.

While there were some concerns, most families seemed open to the change.

"My son will be a freshman when this goes through," said John Glenn parent Andrea Eggleston. "He gets burnt out for two and a half months during the summer, so I think it's a really good idea."

In addition to helping students, the multiple breaks would also allow families to travel during every season.

"I like having multiple breaks throughout the year," said John Glenn parent Danette Cripe. "Spending more family time together, being able to have the opportunity to go on vacation on the fall versus have to go in the summertime."

Parents put their opinions on paper by filling out a survey for the school corporation. The school board will take their feedback into consideration when they consider the schedule change before the end of the year.

If it's adopted, John Glenn schools would likely start the first week of August and end the first week of June. The balanced calendar wouldn't be implemented until the 2015-2016 school year.

Culver, Knox, North Judson, Oregon Davis, Plymouth and Triton schools are also considering the switch.

Rochester schools already operate under a balanced calendar.

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