by Greta Johnsen
July 21, 2014
It’s the first day of school at Hall Fletcher Elementary in Asheville, N.C. Principal Gordon Grant stands outside in a white suit and bow tie, greeting students. The kids arrive sporting fresh haircuts and new shoes. One even wears a tutu.
But the biggest change on this first day of school may be the least obvious. It’s July, and students are returning after just five weeks of break. This public school is beginning a three-year experiment, running on a year-round schedule for the first time. The students will get the same number of school days as others in the district, just distributed differently: five weeks in the summer, three-week breaks in September and March, plus a winter holiday vacation.
A primary motivation for the change is to make sure kids don’t fall behind academically over the long summer break — a phenomenon About 80 percent of the students at this school are eligible for free and reduced lunch, and Grant says, “children who don’t have really good enriching opportunities provided for them in the summer move back academically.”
Full story: In Asheville, N.C., Summer Vacation Lasts Just A Few Weeks By Greta Johnsen, NPR, 7/21/14