COUSHATTA, La. (KSLA) — Red River Parish is piloting a year-round school calendar for the 2020-21 academic year.
Key attributes of the balanced calendar that schools Superintendent Alison Hughes highlighted during a community forum presented on Facebook Live the afternoon of July 20 include:
- Hybrid model Monday-Thursday and virtual for every student on Friday
- Year-round with periodic breaks at strategic intervals
- Allows time to remediate and instruct students with no extended period of regression
- Academic and nutrition needs are met year-round
And the calendar accomplishes this with no additional work and no additional instructional minutes, she said.
“The instructional days are exactly the same. We are not adding any instructional days to this,” Hughes explained. “All we are doing is taking the instructional days and we are spreading it out over a full year instead of cramming everything into nine months and taking three months off and then coming back.
“It’s basically you go nine weeks and you are off two weeks and you go nine weeks and you are off two weeks. And you basically get the month of July off. But we are spreading out the instructional days so that kids don’t have downtime.”
School Board members unanimously adopted the calendar Tuesday.
“This is a year-round model of instruction that has been looked at by research for a long period of time,” Hughes explained. “It has been proven to be very beneficial for kids, especially for students who tend to regress when you send them home for three months in the summer. This model is perfect for that.”
The superintendent said the toll the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on children’s education is a primary reason for testing this calendar.
"Now understand, we have been off of school for quite some time. Our children have been home with no instruction for quite some time. So I felt it was our responsibility to look at a calendar that answers for that."
Hughes said the year-round calendar answers for that.
“We will spend years answering for our children being out of school for as long as they have. The regression,” she predicted.
“It is for nobody’s fault. It is for no kid’s fault,” Hughes continued. “It is just proven that you can take a kid with the highest IQ in the world and don’t provide them instruction for three months and they are going to regress. They are not going to grow.”