Revising the School Calendar

Should schools still operate on a traditional seven hours to the day, with rigid class periods, highly regulated time, and a 180-day calendar?

Is this the best way to organize time and learning for 180 days of the year?
*Edison Collegiate High School bell schedule
(Fort Myers, FL)*

I’ve been blogging as a part of Education Week Teacher’s Teaching Ahead: A Roundtable.  Check out the posts, as they offer some great insight into time and scheduling issues that school districts, teachers, and community stakeholders should consider.

Personally, I think a one-size-fits-all approach is counterproductive in education, but there is a lack of guts on the parts of school systems to test out different models.  How about a longer summer with dynamic enrichment opportunities for students?  How about blended online and face-to-face instruction, with time being used more flexibly?  How about a longer school year for the most needy students, those who suffer academically during the traditional summer break?


  1. Yeah. I think the key here is to make time in school something the kids look forward to — not as punishment. Much of this starts at home with parental attitudes. The ideal would be for kids to look forward to school each day and to see even such a thing as homework as something they enjoy doing — after all, they are learning, something they should do all their lives. If it isn’t fun, they won’t do it. Not in this culture. (I don’t envy you your job, by the way, and I am working on a blog to express my admiration for those of you who do such a remarkable job under deadening circumstances).

  2. Hugh, I agree with your point–if some students are to be in school longer, HOW school is approached needs to change. The same old medicine won’t cure anything.
    If disadvantaged kids have more exciting opportunities in school, and worthwhile reasons to be in school in the summer, great!

  3. I also like your desire to think laterally. But you ARE bucking a trend: the idea these days (as I understand it) is to integrate students, not separate the “bright” ones from the “dull” ones. If you have longer Summers for the “bright” ones you are saying, in effect, you dull kids need to stay in school longer. The makes school a type of punishment, doesn’t it? I would think we would want kids to look at school as a fun time, a time to grow and expand. Further, American kids, as things now stand, spend less time in school than their counterparts in the rest of what we like to call the “developed” world. No? I think you have some good ideas here and I applaud your approach. But I think we need to keep kids in school longer but make it fun for them while they are learning essential life skills — like the three “Rs” (Sorry).

  4. Thanks! It’s hard to buck or change established status-quos, but I’m tired of hearing about how bad public schools are, when there are so many more great systems and ideas that we could test out…

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