Several schools in Indiana have already started because they have adopted what are being called “balanced calendars.” With this model, students typically have shorter summer breaks, but more frequent breaks throughout the year.
Schools in the Brown County School Corporation started Monday–one week earlier than normal. In exchange, students get a full week off for fall break in addition to Thanksgiving break.
Brown County Superintendent David Shaffer says the decision to move to a balanced calendar was not an easy one.
“Those people who were really interested were very emotional, well maybe not very emotional, but passionate on both sides, and the board ultimately had to make a decision,” he says.
Because Bartholomew County schools were making the switch to a balanced calendar and several students from Brown County attend a vocational school there, the school board decided the timing was right to change its academic calendar as well.
Brown County Principal Matthew Stark says he hopes the result is improved student performance in the classroom and on state tests.
“If we use last year as an indicator, and the last two years as an indicator, our student performance has continued to improve and increase,” he says. “Is that the direct responsibility of the calendar? I don’t know. That would be tough to see. There’s just a lot of factors in that.”
Even though some students seemed happy to be back with their friends as they walked through the halls, others wished for at least one more week of summer.
For more on balanced calendars, visit the website of StateImpact Indiana, a WFIU and NPR education reporting initiative.