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RPS looks to adjust academic calendar to address low test scores

Richmond School Board.png
Posted at 11:24 PM, Nov 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-15 23:37:08-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Just one week after sharing low test scores from Richmond students during the pandemic, RPS' Superintendent Jason Kamras proposed ideas to help get children back on track.

Despite heroic efforts by teachers during the pandemic, the Virginia Department of Education assessment scores showed many students are still behind.

At a Monday night meeting, Kamras proposed three new school calendars to the board, leaving members split on the idea of a longer school year.

Option A would increase student classroom days from 180 to 190 and allows additional planning time for teachers. The school year would start on August 15 and end on June 23.

The change would cost around $13 million and federal stimulus money and state grants could fund it for two years.

Option B is very similar to Option A except the school year would run from August 22 to June 30.

The third option would have kids in school for the normal 180 days plus 14 optional intersession days for students and teachers. Those are one-week breaks after each academic quarter to give students in need additional academic support and enrichment.

This plan would cost around $8 million and could be funded possibly for four years through the same sources.

All of these options provide for more instructional time, something that Kamras believes is needed.

After feedback from the board on Monday night, Kamras is set to come up with an Option D with a traditional calendar.

His team will also move forward with gathering feedback from RPS families via a survey that should go out sometime after Thanksgiving.

Any changes that could be approved would be effective next school year.