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Peace Arch News Friday, February 12, 2010

news Facebook page protests potential new school calendar

Group opposes changes Sheila Reynolds Black Press

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A Facebook group has been established in opposition to a Surrey school district proposal to alter the school calendar so that classes would start in midAugust rather than September. The online page, called “Say NO to mandatory summer school,” says: “Surrey school board is planning to make changes that will effect the life of your child. Do you want to lose your summer?” Most of the comments on the page, which as of Thursday had 66 members, object to the suggestion that a portion of the usual summer break be spread out during the school year. A draft 2011-2012 school district calendar shows that instead of having all of July and August off, students would have July and only half of August off, essentially exchanging those summer weeks for two weeks off at the beginning of October. There would be the usual Christmas vacation and two weeks of spring break, which Surrey already implemented this year. Information on the Facebook page indicating students would have all of December and April off is incorrect. (Check http://www. sd36.bc.ca/general/news/2009/ balanced-calendar.html to view

A Facebook group opposing proposed calendar changes has recently been created. the draft calendar). An information package on the matter went out to teachers and parents in December. A notice from the school district notes the current school calendar, with nine or 10 consecutive weeks of summer vacation, was developed more than 100 years ago, mainly to accommodate agricultural needs. “In our 21st century world, many are questioning the current ‘imbalanced calendar’ with its nine or ten weeks of summer vacation and long stretches without significant breaks to pause, decompress and engage in family and other out-of-school activities,” reads the notice. “We also understand that the long sum-

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mer gap has a negative impact on learning, particularly for students of poverty. The ‘learning loss’ for these students is notable.” But commenters on the Facebook page are concerned families will lose valuable summer time together. They also argue kids will have to learn in hot, air-conditioned classrooms in August in exchange for time off during rainy weather in October. Another site member believes that while students may require a great deal of review after the long summer break, the problem will only be compounded with three or more breaks throughout the year. There’s also the concern that older students will have a harder time landing summer jobs. Surrey Board of Education chairperson Laurae McNally has said the proposal is far from being a done deal. She also said it could not take effect for at least two years – 2011 at the earliest – and is not budget related. Instead, she said, it’s about kids losing much of what they’ve learned over the lengthy summer break – and about the school district gathering feedback from parents on the balanced calendar concept. Views can be emailed to calendarfeedback@sd36.bc.ca - with files from Tracy Holmes

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Fri February 12 2010 PAN  

Complete February 12, 2010 issue of the Peace Arch News newspaper as it appeared in print. For more online, all the time, see www.peacearchn...

Fri February 12 2010 PAN  

Complete February 12, 2010 issue of the Peace Arch News newspaper as it appeared in print. For more online, all the time, see www.peacearchn...

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