Recently, there has been a lot of attention given to setting school calendars. I have written about the interest in year-round schooling currently being explored in many Metro Vancouver School Districts. And, Maple Ridge’s Kanaka Creek, is often referenced for its three-month on, one-month off model. While just a few weeks ago it looked like all districts were going to move to a fairly standard calendar for next year, I am pleased to announce a new initiative I will be championing, starting today – BC’s (and perhaps North America’s) first Quadrennial-Round School System.
The Quadrennial-Round (four-year calendar) School System, employs the best of what we know about year-round schooling and extends that learning further. This calendar model is quite simple with students attending school on a three-year continuous basis, after which they have a full year off. The Quadrennial-Round calendar would have a total of four cycles. Students would go to school Grades 1-3, take a year off; then attend Grades 4-6, with another year off, and so on for Grades 7-9 with a year off before moving to the graduation program and Grades 10-12.
Why a Quadrennial-Round School System?
- we know students can have learning losses in the summer. These are eliminated since students would attend school for three years at a time — no Christmas, Spring or Summer breaks
- the system naturally divides the primary, intermediate, junior and graduation programs, and gives students enough recovery time between grade levels
- if students fall behind, they have an entire year to catch up
- it gives families who are considering having more than one child some options – like having them three years apart so that their children are off together, or having them closer together, ensuring their children never have to share breaks and the stresses that come with this
- some families plan big vacations that eat into school time, with this calendar option, they will be able to plan six-month vacations and still have the other half-year for an even longer break
- there is a lot of research on the need for students to be bored, and to be okaywith it; having a 12-month break gives them a lot of time to be bored
- it will lead to an increase in facility efficiencies, they will be used for 12 months and, at any point, 25% of students will be on their sabbatical year, meaning less demand on the schools
- if year-round schooling is good for learning, this is bound to be great
Of course, there will be questions about the substantiveness of the research. The system was originally adopted from a model in Sweden. It actually has its origins in the British Agricultural Revolution when they rotated wheat, barley, turnips and clover over a four-year cycle. With this, we take the best of what we know about crops, and apply it to kids (they both grow, don’t they?). According to Swedish Professor Loof Lirpa, they have run the Quadrennial-Round system successfully for a number of years. In my work with him, he is also suggesting that within the Quadrennial-Round system, we have a day-round system, where students are schooled on eight-hour shifts, further increasing learning efficiencies by utilizing all 24 hours of the day, in addition to addressing the unique needs of teenage learners who are often already awake half the night. But, I think for now we’ll just go with the four-year calendar with the option to revisit the day-round system in the fourth year off of the calendar for the next round of grades.
We have been preparing to launch this very new calendar initiative for several months, but were worried other districts might scoop us — we do like to be first! If other districts had adopted a year-round school system, our calendar promotion and advertising would have been “Year-Round Schooling is Good but Quadrennial-Round Schooling is Four Times Better!”
We are looking for volunteers to step forward and pilot this initiative, and it is appropriate that I launch this today, as it was exactly one year ago today, I launched my FLOG. So, from this point forward, all information on our Quadrennial-Round School System calendar option will be shared through my FLOG and associated public floggings.
I always appreciate the keen reader interest of the Culture of Yes, and I am hopeful that many of you will step forward to bring the best of school calendars to BC, as well as to North America. Finally, I hope your first day of April is as good as mine!