A year-round school calendar is one way Darin Preis, vice president of the Columbia Board of Education, thinks outside the box. He said that over the long summer break it’s often hard for students to remember what they learned during the school year.
At Thursday’s board meeting, Preis suggested that the Columbia Public Schools begin looking at the possibility of year-round schools in Columbia. Preis said the district is “doing parents a disservice” with the traditional nine-month school year and needed to question other districts and even other nations for more information on a year-long calendar.
Board member Jan Mees said the school board committees for new school construction and redistricting would be good places to start the discussion. Those committees will meet for the first time at 8:30 a.m. today in the Columbia Public Schools’ administration building and are open to the public.
Mees emphasized that these possible discussions would just initiate the topic. No decisions would be made for or against the issue at this time.
“By no means is anyone saying that there will be year-long school,” Mees said.
A survey conducted by the district in September 2006 posed the question of year-round schools to community members and district staff. Of the more than 1,000 people polled, 43 percent said they were not interested in a year-round calendar consisting of nine weeks in school followed by three weeks off school throughout the year. 25 percent of those polled said they were somewhat interested and 28 percent said they were very interested in year-long school. Fifty-three percent of all people polled were also employed by Columbia Public Schools.
A portion of this report first aired Thursday during “News At 10” on KMIZ/Channel 17 ABC, Columbia.