Florence One Schools looks to shorten summer, add time off during school year

News13 Digital First

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – Changes could be coming to Florence One Schools’ schedule.

The district is considering adopting a ‘modified schedule,’ which would shave off between two and three weeks of summer vacation in favor of more time off throughout the year.

“We want to maximize that classroom instructional time by planning a schedule that will fit around our quarters and our semesters,” Director of School Improvement Hayley Cagle said. “We are looking to do whatever we can to motivate our students, to motivate our teachers.”

The preliminary plan would have two week break periods for every 45 days, Cagle explained. The time off may be spread out in the fall to accommodate sports schedules.

“We know teacher burnout is a problem,” Cagle said. “We know student burnout is a problem. And when teachers and students are able to have that instructional time and then have a time of rest… We feel they’re looking at that as a positive and that will assist them and us moving forward.”

The school year would still last 180 days for students and 190 days for teachers. The time of day school is scheduled for would not change, either.

The district sent out a survey last week that Cagle said showed favorable results from stakeholders and staff members. She said 83 percent of staff were interested in learning more and 73% of stakeholders responded favorably.

Some on social media criticized the survey because stakeholders could cast multiple submissions. Cagle said the district stood behind the integrity of the survey.

The idea was inspired by Timrod Elementary, which has been using a modified schedule since 2015. The school’s principal says since then she’s seen a drop in disciplinary issues, an increase in student achievement, among other perks.

“Before we moved to the modified calendar, we had a hard time recruiting teachers,” Principal Michelle McBride said. “Now we have an overwhelming amount of teachers who want to come to Timrod because of our new schedule.”

She said the schedule has worked well for the school.

“We have fully embraced our calendar and we can’t see ourselves going back to a regular calendar because we’ve had so much success on the modified calendar,” she said.

The schedule could go into effect as soon as the 2020-2021 school year for the entire district. A final decision is expected to be made at the next board meeting. Count on News13 for updates.

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