News / Calgary

Calgary students tout benefits of year-round school

Certain schools opened doors Wednesday after shortened summer break

Joana Arriola (left), Principal John Griffiths and Luke Capadosa all went back to school Wednesday at Our Lady Fatima school after a one month summer break as opposed to the traditional two months.

Lucie Edwardson/ Metro

Joana Arriola (left), Principal John Griffiths and Luke Capadosa all went back to school Wednesday at Our Lady Fatima school after a one month summer break as opposed to the traditional two months.

When you think back to school, you don’t usually think of it happening in the middle of the summer, but for many Calgary students Wednesday was the first day back.

Two such students were grade six students Luke Capadosa and Joana Arriola who are in the year-round program at Our Lady of Fatima School.

“When I talk to my friends who aren’t in year-round program it’s kind of weird to say I’m in school the next day,” said Arriola. “I’m happy to be back though because I get to see my friends and when I start learning I advance a little quicker.”

Capadosa said he’s happy to be back because “two months of doing nothing is boring,” to him.

Principal John Griffiths said one of the upsides to the program is that it often works better for family schedules. Those who attend year-round school will get more frequent breaks throughout the year.

“For example, when the traditional stream kids get a long weekend at thanksgiving these guys get two weeks,” he said.

Tammi Dagley, whose son Braydon attends Grade 9 at St. Joseph’s, said having more frequent breaks helps ease anxiety when heading back to school.

 “It’s a small core group of them so it takes some of the pressures off and he finds it’s an easier transition,” she said.

Associate Dean at the U of C Werlund School of Education said spreading vacations over the year has benefits for students, teachers and parents.

“Most of the benefits have to do with the way family schedules work,” he said. “It’s also the idea of keeping more regular contact with kids in the schools.”

For students who are in the regular stream however, there are ways to keep sharp, said Julia Sather, program director for Mind in Motion that runs STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) programs all year and camps in the summer.

“It’s a chance for the kids to get to do some really cool hands on science and math activities,” she said. “They also get to see what a real lab is like and see what it’s like to be a scientist or an engineer.”

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