With schedule change ruled out, Northfield looks at other options to close achievement gap

  • Article by: Erin Adler , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 2, 2013 - 3:16 PM

The school board has decided to stay with a traditional calendar through the 2014-15 school year.

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tandabuss1Jul. 3, 13 3:40 PM

It's actually not clear that summer slide happens for all children. Some empirical studies suggest that middle class kids show gains, at least in reading, over the summer. I know that's an inconvenient fact, but it's a fact nonetheless.

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erinadlerJul. 5, 1311:03 AM

It really depends on how you measure summer slide. This is anedcotal, but in talking with teachers, most have said that almost all kids lose math skills over the summer. Reading skills are easier to maintain or improve, apparently. In researching this article, the district said that there was little conclusive evidence from American schools on the impact of year-round school vs. a traditional calendar with a summer break. I haven't looked at this research but I have examined achievement gap research, which would conclusively state what the source from the college access program stated -- lower income kids, students of color and ELL students lose a lot of knowledge over the summer.

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erinadlerJul. 5, 1311:11 AM

I think it really depends on how you measure summer slide. Anecdotally, I've heard from teachers what tandabuss1 states -- that reading skills can be maintained or improved by some students over the summer and that those students tend to be middle/upper class kids. But several teachers said that math skills were lost by everyone. In interviewing for this story, the Northfield district said that there was little conclusive evidence from American schools on whether having a year-round calendar is beneficial to all or some students in terms of retaining knowledge. What we do know from the research, however, is that a three-month summer break hits low income kids, students of color and ELL students the hardest and that they just fall farther and farther behind each year.

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