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Sherrard Parents Petition to Change School Calendar

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Just last month Sherrard School Board members voted to change from a balanced calendar back to a traditional one. And that now has parents calling for another change. Many are speaking out against the traditional calendar.

It's what a lot of us grew up with. In this case, a later start and a longer summer vacation. But since 2005, the Sherrard District has worked off of a balanced calendar  That has an earlier start and a shorter summer break, to fit in more breaks throughout the year. Two weeks in October and two more in March.

Parent and teacher Susan Lyon tells us, "When you have the shorter summer, then students aren't losing as much information over the summer. Therefore they can come back and get going faster." That's always been the argument supporting the balanced calendar. One Lyon supports. "I see my students come back refreshed after break, and as school gets harder they need those breaks, just to relax for awhile."

Why when Sherrard School Board members voted to change the break structure and get off the balanced calendar, Lyon got on the computer, starting a petition to bring it back. 275 signatures so far, and she says she has data that backs up her position. "You can see the scores jumped 13 percent under the modified calendar," she says.

But President Leslie Anderson says board members have also been studying the numbers. "There are a lot of studies that say there's no proof that balanced calendar produces those results." Student achievement results are the reason for the original calendar change nine years ago, along with those breaks and family friendly vacations. But Anderson says, "if you look at our test scores right now at our Junior High and High School, they're not great."

She tells us the community weighed in on the calendar discussion, one that's been happening since August, by phone, via email and in person. So while this board meeting may have been packed, she doesn't expect another calendar change.  "I would say at this point, there's not intention by the board to reverse that decision."

Members knowing it's not possible to make every parent happy, but hoping to do their best for every student. "The new calendar doesn't limit the number of days," Anderson says. "All it does is force us to use the days that we do have in a better way to make that student achievement possible."

Supporters of the balanced calendar also say the extra breaks can be used for remedial classes, but administrators say Those were discontinued due to budget cuts. The change starts with the 2014 - 2015 school year, starting August 18th.

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