- Associated Press - Sunday, January 8, 2017

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) - A Mobile County school will have a new calendar next year.

Fonde Elementary is going to year round school starting this summer.

WKRG-TV reports (https://bit.ly/2j0lDis) the Mobile County School board voted for the change last week. That means the students will have a five-week summer break and a two to three-week break after each quarter. Students will attend the same 175 days of school as the rest of the school system. It’s just spaced out differently.

Principal Joy Gould says she has been working to make this happen for over a year and says this change will greatly benefit the students.

“This is going to enable us to better serve our children in our school zone. We can address achievement programs after every quarter,” Gould said.

During each two-week break after the quarter ends, the school will offer tutoring and enrichment for students, free of charge. They will also provide child care during the second week. Families will have to pay for this child care.

Teachers we spoke with say the change will be especially beneficial to students in this high-poverty school. They believe the shorter summer break will prevent students from forgetting much of what they learned during the previous semester.

“I think it going to help us enrich and really help the students who need the extra help and extra guidance throughout the school year instead of them losing it throughout the summer,” said teacher, Sabra Kuhlman.

Kuhlman said students were nervous about the concept at first, but then liked the idea of a two-week break at the end of September, a week at Thanksgiving, a three-week Christmas break, and a three-week spring break. The exact dates for the calendar are being fine-tuned.

Fonde Elementary is the first school in the county to go to a year round school.

Gould is excited that Fonde is the pilot school for the new calendar. “There are other schools interested, and they will have to see how it goes. It is something they are looking at.”

Gould said they are planning a parent meeting this week. Parents not in favor of the new calendar can apply for a transfer for their child.

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