Balanced School Year: Students prefer the current calendar

Olympia School District ran a two-question survey


Students prefer to keep the current calendar, according to a survey conducted by Olympia School District this spring.

Sandy Hallstrom, a community leader involved with the Balanced Calendar Advisory Group  gave an update to the OSD Board of Directors on  on Thursday, July 14.

The OSD is exploring calendar school year with periodic, longer breaks throughout the school year. Like a traditional calendar, a balanced calendar has the same number of school days – 180.

Hallstrom said there were 3,033 responses to their two-question survey. Of these, only about 12 percent were from students.  The rest included:  62% OSD family members, 22% OSD staff members, about 12% students, and 4% community members.

One of the questions in the survey asked the respondents what they thought about the current calendar.

About 73.6% of -student respondents said they prefer to keep the current calendar; 17.8% think it is a good idea to pursue a balanced calendar and 8.5% said they are undecided and need more information.

As for the family members who responded to the survey, 42.5% think it is a good idea to pursue a balanced calendar; 39.7% want to keep the current calendar; 17.8% said they need more information.

About 47.1% of school staff members who participated in the survey said they prefer to keep the current calendar; 32.7% said to pursue the concept; 20.2% were undecided.

About 55.7% of the community members said they preferred to keep the current calendar; 33% agreed to pursue a balanced calendar; 11.3% were undecided.

Director Hilary Seidel expressed disappointment that students were not equally represented as their family members. “We should not be making any big decisions – to explore or not explore [balanced calendar] – without doing a better job of talking with students and getting the students’ input.”

Student representative Rahma Gaye was concerned a balanced calendar would shorten the opportunity for internships and students’ preparation for college because of periodic breaks spread throughout the school year.

Director Scott Clifthorne, who helped coordinate the advisory group, explained that changes might happen on a regional level. “Internship opportunities will be synchronized with the balanced calendar.”

More information

OSD Supt. Patrick Murphy expressed his observation on the survey, saying there were no overwhelming responses from participants that do not want to touch the current calendar, but instead, there was a significant number that wanted to have a further look at a balanced calendar.

"I think it would be wrong not to continue to move forward and see where we can find consensus in our community around this, Murphy commented.

Hallstrom commented that many people still do not understand the balanced calendar. She said there was a lot of reference to year-long schooling and a 9-5-job that would run year-round.

Murphy encouraged people to go to the balanced calendar page, which contains survey results, meeting summaries, information about the balanced calendar, and examples of balanced calendars in other school districts.


1 comment on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here

  • FirstOtter

    While the idea of a 'balanced calendar', like what they have in Europe, is a good one, they neglect to understand the kid's point.

    As an adult, I think it's a great idea. But having been a kid who absolutely loathed school, the idea of year round school would have been anathema.

    It's not natural to put a kid in a classroom for 180 days. You're sitting on your butt, listening. Yes, I suppose you're expected to interact, but for introverted kids, speaking up is not going to happen. You're not even allowed to have time to yourself after school. You have 'homework', which, to me, wasn't so much instructional as much as it was just a teacher's ticket punch.

    Most schools have gotten rid of recess, and even when you had recess, it was only in elementary school. Middle and high school didn't have recess. So in the vast majority of kids, you're merely an 'inmate' of the academic institution, told what to wear, where to be when, and what to do-which was sit.

    I was like most kids, full of energy and being locked up five days a week for months on end merely destroyed whatever interest I had in learning the orthodox way. Only during summer vacation, when I had time, did I have the chance to pursue MY interests, and they were all outdoors.

    These days, even summer vacation is structured. Mostly because parents have to work, now, there's no more Mom at home and Dad making a living. Both parents have to work in order to HAVE a living. So Kids have 'organized sports" to keep them under a watchful adult thumb, or the worst of the worst- '''summer bible school"..more indoctrination when all a kid wants is to be do what he or she wants.

    Kids need to have a few months to run without heel ropes. Leave the unbalanced, current system in place.

    Monday, July 25, 2022 Report this