More Mississippi school districts are adopting modified calendars

Published: Jul. 26, 2022 at 7:31 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Schools around the state are shaking things up. Many are returning to the classroom in July instead of what was once always an early August back-to-school date.

“We found that we really need to refer to it as a modified calendar rather than year-round school,” said Corinth School District Superintendent Dr. Lee Childress in 2020.

Kids still have 180 days total but spread throughout the year under a modified calendar.

“We still have a summer. It just shortens that a little bit,” noted Dr. Deirdre Randall, Simpson County School District Assistant Superintendent.

Since Corinth’s superintendent testified at a Senate education hearing two years ago, more districts have decided it was the right fit, including Simpson County, which took baby steps into modifying the calendar in 2021 and is expanding the length of intercessions this school year.

“A lot of schools were looking at it prior to COVID,” said Dr. Randall. “But then, with the learning loss that we experienced after COVID, we were all trying to find ways to get in those remediation times.”

Lamar County calls it a 9-2 model.

“So it’s two weeks on, two weeks off,” described Lamar County School District Superintendent Dr. Steven Hampton. “So the first nine weeks, we go nine, and then we’re off two weeks. And then we have the second nine weeks, and then we have Christmas. The third nine weeks, and then we have another two weeks. Instead of having one week for spring break, we have two weeks for spring break.”

Districts are using the breaks not only for remediation but also for enrichment opportunities, and results are already rolling in in Lamar County.

“Implementing the calendar last year, I do think that that has helped tremendously,” said Hampton. “And from our preliminary data, we’re still like, we’re on par for pre-pandemic levels of performance in our students. So we’re comparing everything to the 18-19 school year, which is our pre-pandemic school year. And it looks like that we have closed that learning gap faster than we ever expected.”

The modified calendar is something Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann is sharing his support for on social media and in speeches this summer.

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