CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- As the years have gone by, the first day of school for Kanawha County has moved from after Labor Day to the beginning of August. This year, Kanawha County started Aug. 9, the earliest yet. .
One perk to starting earlier is that we get out earlier; the last day of school is scheduled for May 15. Still, many people are not happy with the new schedule.
So, why the early start? One theory is that the school board is gearing up for year-round school. It's moving the first day earlier and earlier to make the transition easier. If we go to year-round school, we would get three weeks off after every nine weeks and six weeks in the summer.
Two schools in Kanawha County are already on the year-round schedule: Mary C. Snow Westside Elementary and Piedmont Elementary. They started on July 11 and will have a break Sept. 13-Oct. 7.
Students interviewed about the idea of year-round schooling had some diverse answers.
"I feel like it isn't a very good idea," said Riverside High School freshman Jacob Rogers. "Summer is when parents take off so they can spend time with their kids, and how are they going to do that when their kids are in school? I understand where the school board is coming from with this idea; it's just not what is best for the families."
Capital High School junior Matthew Kinder disagrees.
"I'm in favor of all year-round school with frequent breaks," he said. "I feel as though it would make kids not slack off at the end of the year because they [feel like they] haven't had three days off in what seems to be a year."
Riverside freshman Carlotta Alderman said, "I believe all year-round school would be better because with school being all year round and with few short breaks, no one would be able to forget important information, and the teacher wouldn't have to review what the students have already learned. And it would mean higher grade score averages, too."
The whole reason that school is during the fall, winter and spring is because of agriculture and farming. This played a big part in the creation of the school calendar we know today. It was made this way so that farmers could have their children in the summer to harvest crops but still let them get a good education.
Now that many years have passed and we are no longer a farming-based society, schools are trying to make changes for the good of the students and their education. Re-teaching skills at the beginning of every school year takes away time for other things we could be learning during that time period.
If Kanawha County does start year-round school, people will learn to adjust to the scheduling. They may not be happy about such a drastic change, but that doesn't mean that they won't adapt to this way of learning.
The school board will do whatever it feels would be best for student learning. Students and parents will just have to wait and see what that is.