Balanced School-Year Pilot Project
Grand Erie District School Board is looking at the possibility of introducing a balanced school-year calendar to one of its elementary schools for the 2022-23 school year. At this point in the process, input from parents/guardians is crucial to understanding the questions and concerns our parent community might have. This page contains more information about this concept and the process of implementing it in one of our schools, and invites parents/guardians to engage in that process.
What is a balanced school year?
In a ‘traditional’ school year, students attend school from September to June, with time off occurring during the December holiday break, the March break, and a two-month break during the summer months. In a school that follows a balanced school-year calendar, students attend classes for the same number of days – with the same number of holidays – but holiday breaks are distributed differently over the school year. Instead of a two-month break during the summer, students are off for a five-week period, and the remaining holidays weeks are ‘balanced’ throughout the school year. Breaks from school are shorter, but occur more frequently.
Why is Grand Erie exploring this concept?
There is much evidence to indicate that, without the ten-week summer break, students enrolled in a balanced school-year calendar school retain more learning from year to year, have an easier time establishing and maintaining routines, can experience lower levels of stress and reduced absenteeism, and improve academic results. Many families report that they appreciate the balanced calendar because it can mean taking a holiday at a less busy time of year, with fewer challenges in finding extracurricular activities to fill the summer months.
How will Grand Erie choose a school in which to pilot the balanced school-year calendar?
Grand Erie has formed a working committee with input from a variety of staff members and stakeholders to explore the best options in selecting a school. Consideration is given to schools with air conditioning throughout the building to ensure comfort in the classroom in the warmer months, as well as coupling the balanced school-year calendar school with a nearby school that would continue to follow a traditional calendar. This would allow families to choose to opt out if this isn’t a format they feel will work for them, with little impact on transportation.
If my child’s school is selected, can my family opt out?
Yes. Families who wish to opt out of the balanced school-year calendar would attend a nearby school that follows the traditional calendar.
What happens when my child starts secondary school?
At this time, Grand Erie is not looking to implement the balanced school-year calendar at one of its secondary schools. Students would attend secondary school on the current schedule.
Do any other schools/school boards follow a balanced school-year calendar?
Yes. A number of school boards in Ontario have implemented balanced school-year calendars in one or more schools. Several of these have been running for more than a decade. Many countries around the world also use a balanced school-year calendar approach.
How will I know if my child’s school is one of the schools being considered for a balanced school-year calendar?
Given the selection criteria prioritized by the working committee, and the fact that the chosen school must have a nearby school to accept any students opting out, four pairings of schools have been identified:
Parents/guardians of students from each of the school pairings selected for consideration are invited to attend virtual town halls to learn more.
September 21 - 6:30 p.m.
September 22 - 6:30 p.m.
September 23 – 6:30 p.m.
September 28 – 6:30 p.m.
More information regarding taking part in a town hall meeting will be sent directly to parents/guardians of each school community.
We also invite parents/guardians to submit their thoughts to Grand Erie at firstname.lastname@example.org