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DayeTime: It's almost school time

It’s mid-July. I remember when I was a kid, mid-July was kind of like Ground Hog’s Day in reverse --six more weeks of summer vacation.

This year, the first day of school is literally just around the corner for those attending Avoyelles Public Charter School, which opens July 26.

APCS is operating under a “balanced” school year calendar that evens out the holidays during the year. It is almost a two-week break after every 9-week report card period. It may not be exactly that, but it’s close.

Students will still go to school five days a week.

Avoyelles Parish School District’s 10 schools open their doors to students on Aug. 13 -- a Tuesday -- due to a 4-day school week that gives students and school employees every Monday off.

High school juniors and seniors participating in the dual enrollment program with LSUA will apparently have to board a bus on Mondays after all.

Since LSUA didn’t adopt a 4-day school week, the college classes scheduled for Mondays will still be held on Mondays.

And, being perfectly honest, many teachers and coaches will be at their schools on Mondays taking advantage of the peace and quiet to get some real work done.

That would be a better benefit of the 4-day work week for the students and school system than school employees havimg a day during the week to run errands and enjoy a three-day weekend from August-May.

Of course, that means teachers “taking advantage of the peace and quiet” will actually be donating their “free time” to the School Board.

So what else is new? At least now maybe it won’t be a Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon being donated to the cause.

Parochial schools opted to keep their five-day school week. They begin classes on Aug. 12 -- a Monday.

The parish’s newest school, Red River Charter Academy, has its very first day on Aug. 20.

In its first year, it will have about 160 students in grades 6-8. It will add a high school grade each year after this one.

RRCA also decided to adopt a four-day school week, probably to avoid losing any recuitment edge it might have over the public school district.

Conventional wisdom holds that teachers are so in favor of a four-day week they will be willing to work for less than they can make in a district with the traditional five-day work week.

I am not so sure about that.

If it were me, I would focus on the longer work day on the four days I had to work.

APCS and the parochial schools bid goodbye to the public school buses.

That was a bigger decision for Avoyelles Charter than it was for the Catholic schools. Only a few parochial pupils rode parish buses while several hundred APCS students used the buses on at least one trip per day.

APCS will be operating its own school buses. Red River Charter will also have its own contracted fleet of buses to serve its students.

That may be a good thing. With school uniforms, a student’s “allegiance” is obvious. This can cause friction on school buses that mix members of the opposite camps.

While I have always believed in personal freedoms and people’s right to “do their own thing,” I find myself a bit concerned with the four school systems (the two public charter schools are technically independent one-school systems) all doing something completely different.

Maybe this confusion would be worthwhile if the four heads of state hold a summit and agree the one with the best academic results gets to tell the other three they have to adopt the “winning” district’s operating calendar.

I’m sure that won’t happen. At this point, I’m not sure the four would agree on the color of the sky.

And it doesn’t matter if the leaders of the competing school systems disagree among themselves on a varity of issues.

The only thing that is important is that each one realizes its first duty is to the children who will be enrolled in their school -- whether it is for four days or five days a week and no matter how they get there and get home again.

The good thing is, I have complete confidence that all four hold that position.

Now all we have to do is help them achieve their goals to prepare their students for life after they finish those schools.


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