Few people in the Leesville area have not heard about the Wake county school board’s ongoing debate about what calendar would best suit the schools on our campus. The changes that have come from switching from traditional to year round have affected the families of elementary, middle, and high-schoolers alike.
Three years ago, Leesville elementary school was put on a year-round calendar, and last year, Leesville middle school went year-round, leaving Leesville high school the only school on campus following a traditional calendar.
After several community meetings, debates, and one controversial online parent survey, on March 2, the WCPSS board voted to change both the middle and elementary school back to a traditional calendar.
As with any big change, there are differing opinions on the change back to a traditional calendar. An anonymous educator told me they are glad about the board’s decision. “I’m happy to be going back to traditional. As a ten month employee on a twelve month calendar, being year-round makes it complicated to meet the needs of students and teachers.”
Those opposed to the change are usually opposed for the same reasons, one of which is student behavior. In the opinion of a Leesville middle school educator, “The year-round calendar had a positive effect on student behavior. There were fewer discipline referrals (fights), quieter hallways, and less crowded cafeterias.”
Another Leesville Middle School educator who is unhappy with the board’s decision says, “I am displeased with the decision because I believe the year-round calendar is what is best for the students. It gives them short, frequent breaks that allow them to rest and refresh, but not lose what they have learned.”
One middle school staff member mentioned the difficult logistics involved in maintaining a year-round school. “On a year-round schedule everything has to be done twice: EOG testing, fundraisers, graduation. It’s easy for the staff to feel isolated because we are never here at the same time. And if you are a PE or elective teacher, librarian, or administrator, you can get burnt out on the twelve month calendar because those positions never track out.”
While so many of the staff members seem to be conflicted with the recent change, most of the parents who have children in two or more of the campus schools seemed to be relieved.
One parent remarked, “Well, it’s certainly much better for us since I have a child in each elementary, middle and high school. It’s the only way for us to have all the kids on the same schedule. Having just one on year-round is difficult at times. It gives us a limited amount of time that we are all home as a family and it’s hard to plan any family vacations that way. We had to turn down family get-togethers last summer because our year-round child had school. It has also been hard to have two kids who have homework and one who’s on vacation and vice versa.”
Hopefully, in typical Leesville fashion, the staff, students and families will pull together to make the best of the board’s decision to return the entire campus to a traditional calendar for the foreseeable future.