Year-round schooling or nah?

Ashley Vasquez, writer

Imagine a summer with school still in session. It is called the 45-15 schedule and schools around Owatonna are trying to make the transition to it. The 45-15 schedule is basically 45 days of school and then a 15 day break. At first, many might disagree with having ‘school year-round’, but think about the actual benefits of this. The Albert Lea School District (ALSD) voted on the issue and while it did not pass, it is still up for debate. Director of Teaching and Learning for the ALSD, Mrs. Mary Williams said, “We had been exploring the idea of a balanced calendar, but the school board has not approved any changes as of yet.”

The 45-15 schedule is not year-round schooling, as many might assume, it is a balanced calendar. The superintendent of the ALSD, Dr. Michael Funk said, “Essentially, we would have nine weeks of school, two weeks off, repeat this three times throughout the school year, and still have an 11 week summer.” Summer break is shortened, by a few weeks, but not cut out. After each quarter there would be about two weeks of break.

In Rochester, Longfellow Elementary School, has adapted to the 45-15 schedule. They have classes for nine to 10 weeks, then a three week break called intersessions. Longfellow Elementary School begins class towards the end of July. The main reason schools, like Longfellow Elementary, are changing to this schedule is because this way students do not lose what they learned the previous year. Schools that have changed to the 45-15 schedule see the problem in the Owatonna schedule being summer is too long to possibly remember the logarithmic function learned in Pre-Calc last semester.

In the Rochester school district, this schedule has worked for 15 years already and has succeeded in their community. Would it hurt or succeed in the Owatonna school district? As of now, Owatonna starts school the day after Labor Day. With a 45-15 schedule in effect, school would most likely start near the end of July, as in Rochester. Like Dr. Funk said, there would be approximately 11 weeks, or close, of summer. The only difference is that students do not forget all they learned the year before. The 15 day break students get would fall in Oct., Dec. and March essentially around the holidays and breaks students already get. That means that it would not affect the holiday vacation students receive.

So again, imagine a summer with school still in session- for part of it. At first thought, it might seem like a bad idea, but it does not affect much of the schedule already in place.