Balanced calendar idea proposed for Nevada schools

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An item on the Nevada City Council agenda was a presentation about a balanced calendar the Nevada Community School District has been discussing.

Debbie Haywood, third/fourth multiage teacher at Central Elementary, said balanced calendar is synonymous with year-round school, but the district has decided refer to it as a balanced calendar because of the negative connotations associated with the term year-round school.

Former Nevada superintendent Jim Walker sent out an email to faculty members during the last school year, asking if any of them would be interested in providing input regarding a balanced calendar. A group of interested faculty members met five times last school year to discuss the possibilities. Hayward said Nevada’s current superintendent, Steve Gray, wants to continue the research into what a balanced calendar would be like for the district.

Hayward said the academic year would still be 180 days long, but without the three-month long summer break. She and other teachers have noticed students lose a large portion of what they learned the previous school year from not being in school for three months.

“We’ve seen a huge decrease in what they’ve learned,” Hayward said.

In a balanced calendar system, the 180 days would be spread throughout the year, such as attending school for six to seven weeks, taking a two-week break, then beginning the rotation over again.

A concern that has been raised with a balanced calendar system is what kind of impact it would have on families, extracurricular activities, or students with summer jobs. Hayward said they will continue to look into those and any other issues brought forth.

As of now, the disitrict is only looking into what a balanced calendar would be like - no decision has been made on whether or not the district will implement such a calendar. Anyone interested in submitting comments about the balanced calendar can email their comments to balancedcalendar@nevada.k12.ia.us by Nov. 1.

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