Kalamazoo Schools Superintendent Michael Rice says he thinks a different school calendar with a shorter summer break is likely the way of the future. Two schools in the Kalamazoo district started this academic year in July as part of an improvement plan required by the state to stay open.
Rice says the calendar for Washington Writers Academy and Woodward School for Technology and Research includes the same number of school days and hours of instruction. He says there is still a summer break, not as long as a traditional American school calendar, and more breaks throughout the year. Rice says that can help limit the “summer slide” that often happens between grades. But the KPS Superintendent says changing the academic year for other schools is many years down the road. Rice says for one thing, air conditioning will be needed in more school buildings.
A $96.7-million dollar bond approved by voters in May is helping pay for upgrades, including air conditioning in more buildings. A new district-wide kitchen is also being built with money from that bond. Rice says that will allow more scratch cooking, which will mean better food for KPS students.
The Kalamazoo district has reported an increase in graduation and test scores in the most recent numbers. Rice says the Kalamazoo Promise has helped boost enrollment, and he says a higher percentage of those students are earning diplomas. Rice says there are serious problems with Michigan’s M-STEP test, but he says an improvement in test scores is welcome news.