Shelby County commissioner floats idea of year-round school

SHELBY COUNTY, TN (WMC) - With Shelby County Schools' summer break underway, the idea of a year-round school year is being floated around again.

In the past, school leaders have considered a year-round calendar to prevent "summer slump" and boost test scores.

One county commissioner even thinks this kind of schedule is the best way to keep students safe.

"When are we going to move to a year round calendar? They're better off in our schools than they are in our communities right now. I hate to say that," Shelby County Commissioner George Chism said.

Year-round school is an idea Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dorsey Hopson and school board members have discussed in the past, but nothing has ever come from those discussions.

"I think our board is not shy at all about changing things or making decisions that are best for kid," Hopson said.

He agrees that schools often are the safest place for kids in Shelby County, and he also sees year-round school as a way to prevent the summer learning loss.

"When kids learn, you have the summer learning loss. So if you are out of school for an extended period of time you just lose a lot of what you learn," Hopson said.

Chism said year-round school is the solution to keeping kids safe and possibly out of trouble during the summer break.

"I would like to see some ideas--you've got a great school board, you've got a wonderful school board--of how we may be able to get to having these children in these safe environments more of the time," Chism said.

Last summer was the first year for the superintendent's new summer learning academy--which taught 8,000 students at 22 schools.

Hopson called the academy the district's first small-scale test of year-round school years.

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