School All Year Working So Far

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Dorothy Stewart just picked up her daughter, Kenyanna, who's in 7th grade.  It's the 9th day in their back to school routine at Northwest Middle School, where students don't get the three-month break other students get.

"It's quite an adjustment, like when the other schools are in, they're out, and when they're out they're in," Dorothy Stewart said.

It's an adjustment, after all, this is only the second year students have class without a long summer break, but Stewart likes the change.

"It's pretty good because they have a tendency to kind of like get unfocused you know, with the three months straight."

Northwest Principal, Dr. Donnie Mitchell, says class is in session for about six weeks, then students get a three-day break while teachers spend that time in professional development.  Students get a week off in May, then come back to school until mid to late June.  It all adds up to twenty additional days.

"It can kind of wear on you in terms of tiredness, but overall it's been very successful," Dr. Mitchell said.

For a school that once struggled with enrollment, five years ago there were only 240 students, enrollment's grown to 557 students so far.  Dr. Mitchell attributes the success in part to their new school schedule.

"It can't do anything but help the kids," Dr. Mitchell said.

Dr. Mitchell says it has helped.  He's seen a drop in discipline referrals on average, but whether or not its helped test scores isn't clear yet.  Dr. Mitchell says the process to switch to a year-round schedule had to be approved by many people including the community and school board.  One other school in the Kansas City, Kansas District also goes year-round.

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