Unifying calendar, learning

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Almost 15 years ago, schools in Vincent switched to a year-round calendar, but the Shelby County Board of Education plans to consider a unified calendar at its meeting tomorrow night that would bring Vincent back on the same schedule as the county&8217;s other schools.

Students at Vincent attend classes for nine weeks and then get a break for two or three weeks, before heading back to the classroom. Some parents feel this prevents their students from forgetting things over the summer and from getting bored. There are even claims that it improves test scores. But there are downsides.

Superintendent Randy Fuller pointed out that the students&8217; schedules have to be disrupted to allow them to participate in enrichment programs such as Access, which allows students to take lessons via the Internet, or to participate in classes at the School of Technology. He also mentioned that Vincent administrators do not benefit from having Annual Yearly Progress scores at the beginning of the year that might help them improve instruction.

Parents teach their children that being unique is a good thing and in most circumstances they are right. In this situation, however, being the only county school on a year-round schedule, students may be missing out on opportunities that allow other students to thrive.

Parents also say having a different calendar evokes a sense of community, but if parents have that much spirit and enthusiasm for their children&8217;s education, it won&8217;t matter what calendar the school is on. Many other variables improve education, including committed teachers, proven educational programs and determined students.

With their parents support, students at Vincent schools will thrive. A unified calendar will just provide the same tools the rest of Shelby County Schools have