UPDATE: January 19, 2024
Initial Adjusted/Balanced Calendar Feedback
Our goal in the Richland School District is to improve student outcomes. There is data to show that students can experience a loss of learning and continuity during the extended (summer) break in a traditional calendar (Pedersen, J. M. (2015). Summer versus school: The possibilities of the year-round school. Rowman & Littlefield).
A Richland School District workgroup began meeting during the 2022-23 school year to explore the idea of including additional shorter breaks during the school year while reducing the longer summer break. This type of calendar is often referred to as modified, adjusted or balanced.
The district has begun to gather feedback from families, staff, students and the community through Zoom forums, surveys and public comment to share with the school board. This information will be used by the board to determine what direction to do future research on.
Keep in mind this is just the beginning of the Richland School District exploring the idea of a modified or balanced calendar. Many public discussions by the school board will take place before any change is made.
This survey will be open until January 31 at 3 p.m.
Take the Adjusted Calendar Survey here: https://forms.gle/btyRJdYTDv8cQyEu8
Potential 2024-25 School Year Calendar
In Washington State the traditional school year calendar lasts 180 days. Students have a few short breaks along the way and a longer break in the summer. Instead of concentrating 180 school days into our typical calendar which includes the long 10-week summer break, we here in the Richland School District started to explore how our school calendar might be adjusted.
Since many students experience a loss of learning and continuity during the extended (summer) break in a traditional calendar, we started exploring options around including additional shorter breaks during the school year while reducing the longer summer break. A modified calendar could keep the learning process continuous, while ensuring all students still receive 180 days of instruction. This may lead to less review time at the beginning of the school year and more instructional time for all students. This type of calendar is often referred to as modified, adjusted or balanced.
Last school year, a workgroup was organized to start exploring this idea by doing some research and fact finding. The workgroup consisted of administration at the district and building level, Richland Education Association members, community members, and a board member. A book study on the subject was completed and many questions/concerns were answered and remedied. Those questions and answers are included in the FAQ section below.
This school year the workgroup met again, and is now looking for input. The group learned through research that just by reducing summer break from 10 weeks to 8 weeks, students were more engaged and academically successful. Based on this information the District is seeking feedback on how to create a 2024-25 school calendar which reduces our summer break to 8 weeks.
Research has shown that our student absences are the highest in early November and late February. Due to this fact, the group thought it might help with attendance if we include a week-long break toward the end of October and another week-long break the third week in February. With those two additional breaks in place we would add those days off to the end of the school year.
Adjusted Calendar Example
First day of school: August 27, 2024
Fall Break: October 21-25, 2024
Winter Break: December 23, 2024 - January 3, 2025
Mid-Winter Break: February 18- 21, 2025 (President’s Day off is February 17)
Spring Break: two options
- March 31 - April 4, 2025 (traditional calendar break time) OR
- April 7-11, 2025 (adjusted to spread out breaks)
Last day of school: Around June 23, 2025
Community Forum and Feedback
|A forum about the adjusted calendar will be held via Zoom on Wednesday, January 17 and Thursday, January 18 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. This will be a time for families, staff and community members to ask questions that are not answered in the FAQ below. On Friday, January 19, there will be a survey sent out to gather feedback from families, staff and the community.
The zoom link for both forums will be: https://rsd400.zoom.us/j/86732565155
Adjusted Calendar FAQs
Q: Will the adjusted calendar affect Advanced Placement (AP) Classes and Tests?
A: Possibly. Testing for AP tests are the first two weeks in May. Any breaks included before the testing window would reduce AP class time.
Q: Will the adjusted calendar affect students attending Running Start?
A: No. The colleges will still have their current schedules and students provide their own transportation.
Q: Will the adjusted calendar affect students attending Tri-Tech Skills Center?
A: No. Tri-Tech follows the Kennewick School District’s calendar which will complete their school year before Richland School District. Students will still attend their RSD classes after their Tri-Tech classes are complete. RSD will still provide transportation to Tri-Tech during the breaks when Tri-Tech is in session.
Q: Will the adjusted calendar affect students attending Delta High School?
No. Delta High School follows the Pasco School District’s calendar which will complete their school year before Richland School District. RSD will still provide transportation to Delta during the breaks when Delta is in session.
Q: Does the RSD School Calendar need to align with Kennewick and Pasco?
A: No. Currently our school district calendars do not align. The Winter Breaks and end of school days for each district are usually a little different. The only break that traditionally has aligned between the three districts is Spring Break.
Q: Will the adjusted calendar affect students participating in Extracurricular Activities and/or Athletics?
A: No. Currently athletic programs and other extracurricular activities participate during Winter and Spring Breaks. Adding a Fall and Mid-Winter Break will work similarly.
Q: Will the adjusted calendar affect parents needing Day Care?
A: Yes. Parents will still need day care for their children the same amount of days as with the traditional calendar of 180 school days. Those days will just be more time throughout the school year and less time in June. Also, Boys and Girls Club will be able to adjust their services to accommodate for our adjusted calendar.
Q: Will the adjusted calendar affect students receiving food services?
A: Yes. Currently food services are supplied during 8 weeks of our 10-week summer break. With the adjusted calendar reducing summer break to 8 weeks, the summer food service will remain the same. Food services will not be providing food during the breaks during the school year, however.
Q: Will the adjusted calendar have an operational cost impact?
A: No. Operation costs will stay the same as the adjusted calendar will not be adding days to the school year, just adjusting them to different days of the year. It is still a 180-day school year.
Q: Will the adjusted calendar affect student absenteeism?
A: Hopefully in a positive way. There is an increase in student absences around Thanksgiving, Winter Break and Spring Break. Other than around our current breaks, there is a rise in student absences in early November and late February. The thought was that by building in breaks during higher student absenteeism, we might reduce the time students are out of school during class time.
Q: Will the adjusted calendar affect the mental health of our students?
A: Hopefully in a positive way. Students will still have the same number of days in school where they can access support for mental health. There is also research that says the less time away from mental health supports, the better. Reducing the summer break from 10 weeks to 8 weeks allows students to spend less time away from their school mental health support systems. In addition, the Richland School District contracts with Hazel Heart for mental health support throughout the calendar year.
Q: Will the adjusted calendar affect when students graduate?
A: Yes. The adjusted calendar will move graduation a week later than the Kennewick School District and Pasco School District graduations.
Q: Will the adjusted calendar affect college admission?
A: No. College admission would stay the same as those dates are based on the college.