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TPS considers a Continuous Learning Calendar

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Reported by: Sharon Phillips
Updated: 10/19/2012 5:34 pm Published: 10/19/2012 4:11 pm

Tulsa Public Schools is considering a big change to the school calendar.

In a letter sent to parents, the district says it’s considering ending the “long summer break” to help students retain what they learn in the classroom. Continuous Learning Calendar schools have the same number of days as traditional schools, only the summer vacations are shorter.

Carefully putting the sticky tack on the back of her fall decorations, second grade teacher, Ella Jo Smart is working to make this classroom great over fall break. This is her second year teaching at Marshall Elementary School, which is one of six Continuous Learning Calendar schools in TPS.

"I love being a C-L-C school because the kids get breaks and they don't get burned out from school, because they get the breaks spaced throughout the year,” says Smart.

Chouteau, Eugene Field, Gilcrease, Kendall-Whittier and Mark Twain also use the program.

"Rather than having that 12-weeks of time in the summer, it's more like 8 weeks in the summer and then you have a longer fall break and a longer spring break,” says TPS spokesman, Chris Payne.

Because of declines in student test scores, Tulsa Public Schools is looking at adopting this model district-wide.

"We've had reading scores that we're not happy with, and it's pretty clear that our children need more time on task,” says Payne.

Before TPS will even consider adopting the new system, it is seeking feedback from parents, teachers, administrators and students. Another thing it has to consider is higher utility costs and programs and camps that occur over the summer break.

Ella Jo is a strong advocate for C-L-C schools versus the traditional model.

"There are less breaks in the year, and the kids tend to burn out more and in the summer they're out so long that they forget many of their skills they've learned during the year,” she says.

Over the fall break, 13 of her 20 students will be attending intercession class just to get some extra help.

Tulsa Public Schools would likely not be able to implement the C-L-C program district-wide until the 2014-2015 school year. Once again, a substantial process remains before TPS would switch to a Continuous Learning Calendar. TPS officials say they plan to seek parent and public input before making any decisions.

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