Richmond postpones school's move to year-round schedule - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Richmond postpones school's move to year-round schedule

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Students at a Richmond middle school will have to wait another year before making the switch to a year-round calendar.

The state is allowing Richmond Public Schools to postpone Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School's schedule change until the 2015 school year. 

This school year RPS and MLK Middle were supposed to spend time planning to move to a new calendar that would keep kids in class all year long, but after a change in principals mid-year and some other issues, the school board felt it wasn't ready.

The state gave Richmond Public Schools $50,000 to plan for year-round school, which is something districts around the country are trying. According to the grant papers, year-round school is supposed to lead to increased academic performance, reduced summer learning loss and expanded opportunities at a school where more than 80 percent of the students are on free-and-reduced lunch and the 2013 SOL pass rates did not break 45 in all core subject areas.

Now, MLK parents and students will have to wait to see if a year-round calendar is the intervention needed.

"They really need to be educated about what a year-round calendar would mean and what are the pros and cons and there might be some folks that aren't interested in the year-round calendar, especially from our staff perspective," explained School Board Vice-Chair Kristen Larson.

The postponement gives options. It would allow teachers currently at the school the ability to transfer if they don't want to participate in a year-round calendar. About 40 percent of the MLK teachers surveyed would not want to change.

In the questionnaires, one teacher wrote, "Children do not come during the summer," while another said, "The students would retain more information."

Right now, almost 60 percent of those teachers think year-round schooling will benefit the students academically.

"I'm hopeful that people will understand that this could be a really positive move for their students," Larson added.

Larson says in the next year, school board members will also look at the schools that feed into MLK, as well as the high school where those children will end up to see if a more comprehensive plan is needed.

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