DeKalb County will change to a balanced calendar beginning in 2013. In case you’re thinking balanced calendar equals year-round school, let me clarify: DeKalb will reduce summer vacation by two weeks and add a three-day fall break and a week off in February.
For those new to the concept, balanced calendars are designed to shorten the summer break and spread other breaks throughout the year, thereby making the calendar less lopsided with a long summer break. It is suggested that a balanced calendar can help reduce student learning losses that may occur during a long summer break.
However, simply shifting school days around is no guarantee that students will receive a better education. If a school’s emphasis is narrowly focused test-preparation with little to no substantive instruction once students have taken the tests, it won’t matter if the calendar is balanced or not.
And what about customer service? 68% of DeKalb County teachers and staff voted Yes to the new calendar, while 59% of parents voted No. Oh well, sorry, customers.
With admissions season approaching, I’m sure we’ll get lots of questions about balanced calendars. Here are some answers:
Cliff Valley typically begins in mid-August, and the last day of school is typically early June. We offer before and after care each school day.
We have a two-day fall break in October, three days off for Thanksgiving, two weeks for winter break, and a week for spring break.
We have four days for parent conferences — two in the fall and two in the late winter — and we provide childcare for both days.
We offer summer programs with before and after care for all but three weeks during the summer.
In short, students can attend Cliff Valley for all but eight weeks out of the year.
Cliff Valley’s mission is to provide outstanding education focused on students’ academic and social development in a caring community environment, and we are particularly serious about the descriptor outstanding. We pride ourselves on providing excellent customer service to our students in the form of engaging, meaningful, and well-rounded learning opportunities every day they attend Cliff Valley, and to our parents in the form of high quality communications from teachers and the school, well-run operations, and calendars and schedules that meet families’ needs.