Hopewell City Schools prepare for start of year-round schooling

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 5:47 PM EDT
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HOPEWELL, Va. (WWBT) - On Monday, about 4,000 Hopewell students will start their first day of school on a year-round schooling model.

Hopewell City Public Schools will start their balanced calendar, which will spread out learning periods and breaks for students and staff throughout the year.

Byron Davis, director of balanced calendar and district communications for Hopewell Public Schools, says all eight of their schools will move into this schedule.

“We’ll be the first district in the state of Virginia to have an entire district go into that type of model,” Davis said. “The intention was to start it this past year, but the pandemic threw everybody off schedule with that.”

Through Hopewell’s new model, students will go to school in 45-day periods. Then, they will have a three-week intersession.

“During those intersessions, families can either choose to take vacation or choose to sign up for intersession courses,” Davis said. “They are two weeks long so they can typically sign up for two different courses for those two weeks, or they can do some sort of hybrid of vacation for one week and course for another week.”

Davis says the intersession courses are optional and offer a variety of subjects for all age groups.

According to Hopewell Schools’ online balanced calendar presentation, teachers are required to work one week of intersession per year under their contract. Teachers can also choose to work more intersession courses for additional pay.

Davis believes this new calendar will prevent burnout and summer slide.

“We’re trying to avoid summer slide, that time where students kind of forget what they learned about over the past year and have to play catch up after the summer,” Davis said. “We’re trying to avoid burnout for students and for staff. During some of the school year, you go for long periods on a traditional model without having a break at all.”

Davis also hopes this will provide more opportunities for their students.

“We care about the students in Hopewell and this is a way to give them opportunities that they otherwise might not have,” he said.

Davis said families can sign up for intersession courses online through their digital catalog.

The school district will also hold a virtual town hall on Tuesday about their COVID-19 mitigation strategies and how the school district intends to use CARES funding.

The meeting will start at 7:30 p.m. To join this town hall, click here.

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