Two MoCo schools have a longer school year

In an effort to stop students from forgetting much of what they learned during their summer break, Montgomery County Public Schools has chosen two elementary schools in Silver Spring to see if a longer school year, and therefore a shorter summer break, will lessen any backsliding.

In a pilot program that is expected to start in the 2018-2019 school year, students at Arcola and Roscoe Nix elementary schools will attend school from September 2018 through much of July 2019. 

The school year will be extended by four to six weeks, said MCPS spokesman Derek Turner.

“It’s a definite,” Turner said of the pilot program. 

The curriculum must be worked out and so will the exact length of the school year, which Turner said will be between four to six weeks longer than the current school year.

Parents will have the opportunity to opt out of the program, and details on how that will work are being developed, he said.

A Jan. 23 meeting at Roscoe Nix Elementary School will be held to explain the new program to parents and guardians, according to Principal Annette Ffolkes.

The two schools were chosen as they “both serve children impacted by poverty” and are Title 1 schools, Turner said. A Title 1 school, which has many students from low-income families, receives additional funds from the U.S. Department of Education to help the students meet state standards.

Students attending Title 1 schools are “particularly vulnerable to summer slide,” Turner said.

The two schools also were chosen due to their “great leaders and principals,” he said.

Currently the school district offers education classes during the summer. This year about 1,000 students participated in those classes, and Turner said they expect that number to double during the summer of 2018.

But this program will be different. Rather than take an additional class or two during the summer, students at Arcola and Roscoe Nix will have an extended curriculum that will run from September well into July. 

The program “will be just like the school year,” with the same winter and spring breaks, Turner said. It will just continue on when the rest of the students leave for their summer break.

The largest cost of the program will be salaries, he said. Funds for the program are included in the proposed $2.59 billion school budget. The Board of Education is expected to approve the budget on Feb. 13. It then first gets sent to County Executive Ike Leggett and then to the County Council.


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