CMSD administrators discuss changing the school calendar

The district says having students in the classroom more will open the opportunity for engaged learning. Board members are working to develop a modified schedule to focus on college readiness, grade-level preparedness, and instructional-learning.

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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- The school year that begins in the fall of 2021 may look a little different for the Columbus Municipal School District.

Classes will be in session for extended periods to target student achievement and learning loss.

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School administrators are currently developing a plan for teachers, students, and parents.

The district says having students in the classroom more will open the opportunity for engaged learning.

Board members are working to develop a modified schedule to focus on college readiness, grade-level preparedness, and instructional-learning.

This new schedule will ease the summer slide for teachers and students.

” Our students are in different learning environments. We’ve been in the virtual and hybrid setting and our teachers have been asked to do unprecedented things,” Superintendent Dr. Cherie Labat.

The district will follow a similar model to the Corinth School district, taking four weeks from summer break to spread it throughout the school year, also known as intersessions.

” We can work on students and give them gray-level instruction during the year. We’re being proactive and preparing for those deficits by getting our students where they need to be during the year. I do feel we can replicate that type of success,” said Dr. Labat.

Intersession will also promote academic achievement, college and career readiness, and workforce development for graduating students.

” There will be some critical moments in education in the next two years because of what we’ve gone through. There’s exhaustion, there’s trauma,and there is PTSD. There are things we’ll deal with from students with an academic interruption from quarantine and positive cases,” said Dr. Labat.

Even though participation for intersession is optional for teachers, educator Roselynn Rainey is already on board.

” You’re refreshed and not so worn out. What I liked was the intersession in October because you can work on those fundamental skills that the kids need instead of waiting until the end of the year playing catch up,” said Rainey.

Rainey says during the summer, more than half the students will often forget what they’ve learned.

” The first intersession you do fundamentals ,and the next intersession you do enrichment. It’s something that you like or you want to learn more about so it makes learning more exciting for them,” said Rainey.

” I am so amazed at how many parents agree with the modified schedule. They’re speaking upon how it will help our students here at Fairview Elementary,” said Principal Melinda Robinson.

Labat says there are a few steps to complete before a final decision is made for the 2021-2022 school year. She and the board members will continue researching the best method possible.

“Our teachers are not going to work any more days than the 187 days than they are contracted. Our students, unless they need assistance, acceleration, enrichment, or remediation will only go to school 180 days. Being an innovative district with innovative employees, we want to do something progressive for our students by providing shorter breaks to eliminate learning loss and to deal with the COVID-19 slide,” said Dr. Labat.

Another community stakeholder meeting will be on January 7th.

The Columbus Municipal School District will also meet with the Corinth School District about developments and school plans.

Dr. Labat also says Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and other holidays will not be altered.