Balanced Calendar: not the same as year-round school

North Thurston schools to hold community forums on ‘balanced calendar’


North Thurston Public Schools (NTPS) will hold its first community forum this Wed., Jan. 19, to get insights on their plan to explore a “balanced calendar” for the upcoming school year.

The proposed calendar would distribute school days more evenly across the whole year. With a balanced calendar, students would still attend the same number of days (180) during the school year, but the typical 11-week summer break is reduced to create longer breaks in the fall, winter, and spring.  For example, instead of an 11-week summer break, you might have a 7-8 week summer break and three 2-week breaks in fall, winter, and spring, according to the district.

A 50-member steering committee is leading the process. The district promises to publish a detailed proposal based on community feedback in March. The NTPS board will decide in May 2022 whether to proceed with the idea.

The Balanced Calendar Study Committee will prepare a recommendation to take to the school board in May 2022, according to the district.

Some of the benefits a balanced calendar can bring, according to the district, include: 

  • improved academic success for students by offering more opportunities for students who need it to receive personalized supports
  • reduced summer learning loss 
  • providing staff, families, and students with more school/life balance during the year
  • offering new opportunities for students and staff with more breaks throughout the school year

Students, parents, and staff are invited to attend the forums to discuss opportunities and challenges that may come along with the plan.

The meetings are scheduled for these dates and locations:

  • Wed., Jan. 19 - Chinook Middle School, 4301 6th Ave. NE
  • Wed., Jan. 26 - Nisqually Middle School, 8100 Steilacoom Rd. SE
  • Wed., Feb. 2 - Salish Middle School, 8605 Campus Glen Dr. NE.  This meeting will be live-streamed on the district's YouTube channel.

Correction:  We published an earlier version of this story under the headline, "Year-round school year?" which was our interpretation of the balanced calendar concept. This story is also updated to provide more details about the potential benefits a balanced calendar can deliver to students. 


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