Marion School District looking to implement hybrid calendar

Marion School District looking to implement hybrid calendar

MARION, Ark. (WMC) - One Arkansas school district is proposing some major changes to its schedule. The Marion School District is considering a school year that stretches from the end of July until early June with several breaks along the way.

There's something Marion School District Superintendent Glen Fenter wants to clear up right away about the proposed July to June school year.

“It’s not year round school, it’s a hybrid calendar,” Fenter said.

The district is looking to reset its calendar to start at the end of July and finish in early June with students and teachers being in the classroom nine weeks at a time then off for two weeks. Then, a seven-week summer vacation.

“We all know our basic school calendar is driven by a 200-year-old agrarian-based model that wasn't really based on any science of learning that we know today,” Fenter said.

One of the calendar's goals is to fight the summer slump. In one study published by the Brookings Institution found students can lose more than a quarter of what they learned in school during the summer, and the number can grow for historically disadvantaged groups.

Social media is buzzing with opinions. One Marion parent said she likes the breaks throughout the year and hopes she gets to vote on it. A Marion teacher, also in favor, said it gives kids a chance to come back refreshed every nine weeks.

Others worry it doesn't take parents' task in finding childcare, proper vacation times and even joint custody agreements into account.

“There are going to be thousands of folks who will interpret how this will impact them particularly, and we appreciate that,” Fenter said. “At the end of the day, we have to find a way to continue to improve how we educate our students.”

Superintendent Fenter said a portion of faculty and staff has voted on the idea of a hybrid calendar. Of more than 300 votes, about 80 percent of the group was in favor of it.

There will be a public meeting about the hybrid calendar. That could come as early as next month. The District is also considering staggered start times.

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