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Debate over Calendar 2.0 continues - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Debate over Calendar 2.0 continues

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ESSEX, Vt. -

Frustration filled Essex High School Wednesday night as parents fired off questions about the Calendar 2.0 proposal.

"You say this provides a more natural rhythm of teaching and learning. How is it more natural? What evidence do you have? And I don't see how multiple disruptions during the school year is going to enhance our students' education!" said Lori Notowitz, a parent.

The calendar changes being considered by the Champlain Valley Superintendents Association would introduce two additional week-long breaks during the school year. It would also take 10 of those days away from summer vacation. Educators say the goal is to use the new breaks to help struggling students catch up more quickly and allow others to take on new real-world learning opportunities.

"They are selling the intersessions in many ways as an opportunity for older children to do job shadowing and internships and be part of the community. I think that's great, however there's a K-6 grade demographic who can't take part in those opportunities," said Amy Richardson, a parent.

"The ability to provide intersessions for struggling learners during the school year. Another big benefit is for teachers to not be pulled as much out of classrooms for professional development for curriculum works because they'd be able to do that during the intersessions," Milton superintendent John Barone explained.

The CVSA says although it's provided many platforms to receive community feedback, it admits the group could have done a better job explaining the details behind the idea to the public.

"Did we do a good enough job sharing the information with our communities? Did we afford enough opportunities for input on this proposal? Clearly what I'm hearing is, no," Barone said.

Supporters of Calendar 2.0 argue the move will better prepare students for the future. But opponents say they've seen little evidence that changes will make a major difference in the classroom, and can have a negative effect on student routines.

"It's going to be really hard for her to pull it together when she's at home and back at school. Just the change is really hard for her. And so for me, personally, this is not going to work for my second-grader," Richardson said.

Calendar 2.0 would preserve the current 175 days of school a year. The plan was to implement the new calendar for the start of 2014, but the CVSA says that timeline is now flexible due to all the stimulating feedback. The group is hosing three more regional forums to discuss the proposal this week.

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