HOPEWELL, VA (WWBT) - Hopewell is weighing whether to become the first school in Virginia to send kids in its entire district to school year-round. The School Board could vote to make the switch as soon as this month.
Year-round school is gaining popularity among school districts across the country, and is already happening at certain schools in the RVA area, including in Chesterfield and Richmond.
The goal is to keep young minds active, so they don't lose what they've learned over a long summer.
“I just think it’s better off for the kids, as far as education,” said Tara Reid, whose son attends Dupont Elementary in Hopewell. “I’m all for it.”
Students will still be in the classroom for the required 180 days, but time off is spread out throughout the year, to avoid the 'summer slide,’ or kids forgetting what they’ve learned.
"There is definitely a gap of time going from one grade to another,” said Reid.
Hopewell Schools would have 45 days of instruction, and then a three week span of time off. Then students would go to class for another 45 days. The cycle repeats, except during summer, when students would have a six week stretch of time off.
Parents would also have an option during a majority of the time off periods, referred to as intercession, of sending their children to school for extra learning or enrichment.
Other positives include a schedule that some parents say is better for daycare, and Hopewell school officials say studies show minority students at year-round schools perform better on SOL tests.
But, not everyone is on board. Some parents say they want their child to enjoy a longer time away from the classroom, and that a shorter summer could interfere with family trips.
"I don't like it because it's going to ruin his summer," said Leslie Quick, whose son is in second grade at Dupont Elementary.
The Hopewell School Board could vote as soon as May 16 on the new schedule. The school district would then apply for a state grant to help cover any costs.
Hopewell’s year-round schedule would go into effect in the fall of 2020.
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