Some Iowa schoolkids aren ot out for summer. More schools all the time are asking about year-round class schedules, though the state education department’s Kathy Slaughter says there are only a handful doing it so far. She says year-round schooling doesn’t mean the kids have more days in class than other Iowa students. They schedule breaks of 4, 5 or 6 days intermittently throughout the whole year, and just don’t have a “huge” summer break. The state agency doesn’t have any particular preference that they remain within traditional fall-to-spring dates as long as classroom time meets the minimum standard set for Iowa schoolkids. The most important thing to the education department is that the kids get their 180 days of education, but the agency’s interested in learning how creative school calendars work, including the schools trying year-round schedules. Slaughter says there are a few clear advantages to so-called year-round schools. You’ll get the learning benefit because don’t have a long break that lets them forget what they’ve learned. That not only saves “pickup time” reteaching lessons at the beginning of the new school year, you also get better-behaved students, because, she says, “they haven’t had time to forget all the rules.” The year-round schooling idea has some drawbacks, too. While schools doing a year-round schedule have seen some benefits, you have to deal with teacher contracts, food-service workers and transportation — bus drivers who’ll work outside the traditional school year. Slaughter says right now there are only about ten schools in the state with genuinely year-round schedules, but more are inquiring about it all the time.
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