GREENVILLE — Greenville Public Schools officials have put together a committee to research how to best use the time the district has with students, considering alternative calendar options like summer classes for some students, more instructional days or even year-round schooling.
A group of 40 teachers, staff, parents and community members has been looking into different scheduling options for the Greenville school district since last October, studying districts globally, statewide and even locally “to see what’s out there.”
“We have had a group working on this question for several months. The group began without a specific plan, but instead to research the question of how we use time and its impact on student achievement,” Superintendent Pete Haines said. “The process has led the group to analyze different school calendars as one of the variables.”
An alternative calendar can take many different forms.
“Greenville has been wanting to investigate an alternative calendar for sometime,” said Baldwin Heights Elementary School Principal Mike Walsh, who serves on the committee.
“I don’t want the preconceived notion we’re going to have year-round schooling because that’s not the case,” he said, adding it was just one of many different forms of alternative scheduling the district is researching.
It could mean adding days to the year or hours to the day, spreading the school year out over the entire calendar year, offering evening classes or certain summer programs.
The committee, which meets monthly, is putting out a survey to district stakeholders gauging interest in an alternative schedule for Greenville Public Schools. The survey, which will be posted until March 15, can be found on the district website or at www.surveymonkey.com/s/gpsaltcalendar.
“We just want to know what people think. This will give us the information of where our stakeholders are at on this,” Walsh said.
The district has already opened the door for potential schooling during the hot summer months. In the most recent bond construction, air conditioning was installed at one of the elementary buildings and the middle school and several high school classrooms already have it.
“We know we would now have the option, for at least some of our students, to offer courses during the hottest months of July and August at all levels,” Haines said, adding the committee has been formed in order to seriously consider an alternative schedule. “They are truly asking because it is a possibility, and they want to gauge community interest as well as ideas and factors they may not have considered.”
If a change does occur, it won’t be for some time.
“We’re kind of in the baby stages of this,” Walsh said. “Before we make any decision, it will probably be a multi-year process. It will be something where we take our time and do the right thing.”