Aiken County considering modified academic calendar

Education

AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – A new school year could mean a changed academic calendar In Aiken County. The district is considering a modified calendar in which the school year would start in mid-July or early August and end the first week of June. Summer break would be shortened to six weeks. After every nine weeks of school, there would be a two-week break.

A similar model has been adopted in McCormick County. The Edgefield County School District is considering its own version.

“To make a change to public education of this magnitude, it’s not going to be done lightly,” Dr. John Bradley, the Chairman of the Aiken County Board of Education, said. “It’s going to require a lot of input, public meetings where people will have an opportunity to speak as well as research to find out how it’s doing in other places. It’s not going to be done quickly.”

The district hopes this will help both students and staff, giving them time to recharge and helping students retain what they learn learned. In a proposal released by the district, four “benefits” are laid out:

  • Reducing burnout
  • Preventing the “summer slide”
  • Offering extra academic support
  • enrichment opportunities

The proposal is dividing parents. Some are concerned it will affect their childcare and require them to change their work schedules. One parent told NewsChannel 6 they believe it will hurt children with disabilities who depend on a “constant schedule.”

Amy Lindale says it will be beneficial for her family.

“It helps with burnout for students and teachers alike,” Lindale explained. “School years can be pretty stressful because there’s a lot crammed into that nine month time period.”

There are still several things that need to be worked out before the calendar can be adopted, including if teachers and staff will be onboard.

“What are teachers’ opinions?” Bradley asked. “Are they going to accept a contract that’s different from what they’ve traditionally done? Are they willing to work, or are we going to lose teachers because of this? Are they going to go to Georgia instead?”

Before the calendar is implemented, the district will host meetings where parents can ask questions and voice their opinions. No dates have been set yet. Any parent with questions can email the district at communications@acpsd.net.

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