Districts Have Mixed Feelings With Continuous Learning Calendar

Wednesday, July 10th 2013, 11:14 pm
By: News 9

The first of August, when most kids are enjoying summer break, Oklahoma City Public Schools students will head back to class. That's sooner than most because of the district's continuous learning calendar.

Oklahoma City says it changes the way students learn, but other metro districts disagree.

News 9 visited Oklahoma City's Ridgeview Elementary School where students are excelling in the classroom. Oklahoma City Public Schools credits the growing successes, in part, to the continuous learning calendar. Students are out of school longer during fall, winter and spring break and summer break is two months long instead of the traditional three.

"This gets the kids back in school quicker with a shorter amount of time hopefully without that summer loss," said OKC Deputy Superintendent, Sandra Park.

Park sees the results in the classroom.

"After just the first year, we had gains in every academic area with the exception of one grade level in one subject," Park said.

Small urban district Crooked Oak tried continuous learning during the 2012-13 school year.  Superintendent Bradley Richards said it didn't work for them because state mandated testing periods end weeks before the school year ends under this calendar.

Read more about continuous learning.

"If you're in law school, you don't take the bar exam and then continue courses," Richards said. "It's the terminal end for us when we do end-of-year testing. That's what we're graded on and to have a period after that just doesn't seem to make a lot of sense."

While Richards said continuous learning wasn't for Crooked Oak, it doesn't mean it can't work in other districts.

"Look at the facts and make a decision on what's best for your district, not what other schools are doing," Richards said.

So far, it's working in Oklahoma City.

"I think it's great. He (son) used to hate math. He's more interested in it now," said parent Mindy Morgan. 

Dad Steven Carbin agreed.

"We enjoy it very much. We can tell at home. She's excited to learn new things and her overall learning expectations," Carbin said.

Oklahoma City begins its third school year under the continuous learning calendar August 5, 2013.