Red River Charter chooses 4-day week; Head Start keeps 5-day

In the battle of the calendars, the 4-day school week gained one school and the traditional 5-day school week was chosen by the parish’s largest pre-school program.

Red River Charter Academy Board President Brad Augustine said RRCA will have a 4-day calendar when it opens. However, the school is not adopting the same 4-day calendar as the Avoyelles School Board.

RRCA will contract with a private company to provide students’ transportation to and from the school and will not use APSD buses.

The RRCA Board will adopt a final version of the school calendar in the near future.

At this time, the new charter school is expected to begin its school year a little later and end a little later than the Avoyelles Parish School District schools. Vacation breaks may be slightly different and students may have to go to school on a few Mondays during the school year, a school official said.

SHORT WEEK/LONG DAYS

The 10 APSD schools will have a shorter week but longer school days. Schools will be open Tuesday-Friday and be closed on Mondays. The school day will start about 15 minutes earlier and end an hour later than it did this school year.

Avoyelles Public Charter School has adopted a five-day school week with a modified 175-day school calendar that opens school on July 29 and ends on May 21.

The calendar has a two-week break after the first 9-weeks grading period, a three-week break at Christmas and two one-week breaks in the spring before adjourning school for an 8-week summer vacation.

This model, commonly called a “year-round” or “balanced” school calendar, begins only a few weeks before the 144-day 4-day school year of the public school system.

The four parochial schools have said they will stay with a five-day week and will not use public school buses to transport their children. While there have been rumors that one or more of the schools will adopt a modified calendar similar to APCS, none of the schools have released their calendar for the 2019-20 school year.

The eight Head Start centers in Avoyelles will be open five days a week and continue with the same operating hours they have had in the past, a Head Start spokesperson said. The centers have their own buses to bring children home or to an afterschool caregiver.

The pre-school programs in the six APSD elementary schools will be on the four-day school week schedule.

APCS and parochial schools have used the shuttle bus system in the past, but the 4-day/longer day schedule makes it difficult to use the public buses without adopting the district’s schedule.

APCS has indicated it will establish community bus stops. Parents will bring their children to the bus stop where a shuttle bus will take the children to the school. Students will be taken back to the bus stops in the afternoon where parents or caregivers will pick them up.

Less than 100 parochial school students ride the public school buses, so the four Catholic schools said those children’s parents will need to make other arrangements for their children’s transportation to and from school.

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