Handful of DC schools begin first year-round school calendar

Washington DC -- A new school year and a new experience for thousands of DC-area students has already begun even though we've only reached the second week of August.

Ten elementary schools are part of a new program to switch to a year-round school calendar.

The move is being made to keep students in class 20 days longer than typical students so there is less down time between school years. Educators say too much time is wasted trying to reteach students things they learned in previous school years and before a long summer break.

Instead, that typical two month summer vacation will be traded for a total of four seasonal breaks, similar to Spring Break.

"It's a change for all of us," said Ameen Beale, who took his son to Turner Elementary on Monday. "It's exciting. I was initially a bit skeptical-- I worried about teacher enthusiasm and how the kids and the community were going to respond but everybody seems on board."

The schools participating in the program are mostly on the southeast side of DC-- wards 7 and 8.

District of Columbia Public Schools leaders said the schools were based on an academic need for student improvement but also based on how willing the schools were to make the change.

"Our teachers have been behind this," said John Davis, DCPS' Chief of Schools. "Over 85 percent of teachers chose to come back and go onto a 12 month schedule-- we're really happy about that."

The change was made after Mayor Muriel Bowser made a calendar change a priority earlier this year. District leaders dedicated $5 million to the project which will impact more than 3,600 students.

Last year just one DCPS school was on a year-round schedule but the idea has been adopted by several area charter schools and some campuses in neighboring districts.

Here is a list of the schools now on the year round schedule:

Garfield Elementary School (Ward 8)

H.D. Cooke Elementary School (Ward 1)

Hart Middle School (Ward 8)

Hendley Elementary School (Ward 8)

Johnson Middle School (Ward 8)

Kelly Miller Middle School (Ward 7)

King Elementary School (Ward 8)

Randle Highlands Elementary School (Ward 7)

Thomas Elementary School (Ward 7)

Turner Elementary School (Ward 8)


Most other DC schools return to class Monday August 22.