Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Laying the Groundwork for Year-Round Public School in Fairfax?

The signs are all there - speaking with a few long-time teachers and parents, it's apparent that movement may be afoot in Fairfax County for year-round school. Elective Summer School offerings are curtailed or cancelled. The population trends are dictating fewer realistic options for a more diverse parent crowd (with more single parents and dual income families) regarding options for daycare during the Summer months. Rampant evidence abounds regarding the extra time, expense and disservice to students with respect to their loss of accumulated knowledge over Summer vacation, and the need to "catch up" or "make up" the next year. Ideas and plans to reduce persistent overcrowding include year-round schooling, which offers more options for scheduling extra-curricular activities, staggered classroom schedules, and more useful, efficient use of school facilities overall. Several schools in Fairfax are already offering year-round classes, with much success. Benefits to existing teachers and those being recruited include flexible work schedules, reduced stress, and time for professional planning.

This is inherently a good idea, for a county and school system prepared both to offer and maintain this "sea-change" in local culture, and which has been gradually acclimating the local populace to the idea. Loudoun's perhaps still a bit too rural for such drastic change - but we think as Fairfax goes, so too should at least a few "test cases" in Eastern Loudoun (Eastern because of the population stressors, but perhaps also Western to alleviate rampant overcrowding) to test the waters.

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