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Our six-hour-a-day and 180-day school year was established for an agrarian society. Is there any reason to retain this outdated, inefficient pattern in a modern digital world?
Our school facilities sit vacant for many usable hours each day and are vacant during the summer months. It is an inefficient way to use both facilities and staff.
A 10- or 12-hour school day and year-round operation makes more sense and would likely be more effective in increasing student performance.
We know that different students learn in different ways. In such a system, students attend based upon need.
A school organized on a more rational schedule can ensure that students who need more time or different approaches would be more likely to get them. Teachers can work shifts.
Let us say that all teachers work a six-hour teaching day, with two hours of preparations. Some teachers may work 8 to 4 and others 10 to 6. Students can also attend at different times, according to their needs.
Online courses could actually be done from home in conjunction with parents.
On snow days, the school goes on with digital resources activated throughout the community.
The school facilities are used year-round. Things like summer camp all become a part of the school.
Every teacher knows that in September we must regain what the students have lost over summer vacations.
We need to seriously rethink school schedules and how we can more effectively use facilities and staff. Family vacations can be planned year-round and built into the individual student's school schedule.
Frank B. Withrow