“Welcome back! Today is Monday, August 6, 2007.”
That was the message on a chalkboard in Debra Alpert’s classroom at Wheatley Elementary School, 2442 N. 20th St.
It was humid and warm outside and inside the building – no question about it, an August day.
And school was in session?
Indeed, as it was on Monday at 17 other schools in the Milwaukee Public Schools system, all of them using a “year-round” schedule, which does not mean kids go to school year-round, or even that they go to school more days than the 175 to 180 of students on traditional schedules. But they do have a school calendar that gives them a shorter summer break (six weeks or so) and three breaks of three to four weeks throughout the year.
Some educators – as well as many teachers, parents and even kids – think that schedule is preferable when it comes to the impact on a child’s learning and, in some cases, a child’s safety or social development.
Research overall is mixed on the impact of reducing that three-month break. But there are arguments for saying maybe that long summer vacation isn’t such a hot idea after all.