Forrest County School District moves to modified school calendar

Published: Jun. 30, 2021 at 5:23 PM CDT
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FORREST COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) - Forrest County School District teachers head back to their classrooms in three weeks. The students return in three weeks and five days.

If you are thinking to yourself, “Wait, isn’t that the end of July?” You are correct. The school district is trying out a modified schedule for this school year.

Forrest County School District counselor, teacher and parent, Kris Arnold, said when she first found out about the change to a modified schedule for the upcoming school year, one phrase kept popping up.

“A lot of people call it year-round school, but when you actually look at it on a calendar it’s not year-round,” Arnold said.

The modified schedule is still 180 days of school, but with an earlier start of July 26 and two, two-week breaks in the fall and spring called intercessions.

Arnold said once the school district released the school calendar, teachers got behind the change and the days off.

“Additional days are always exciting!” Arnold said.

Forrest County Superintendent Brian Freeman said the district surveyed the teachers to make sure they were up for the change.

“Cause if our teachers aren’t going to be supportive, there was no reason to ever try this,” Freeman said.

Freeman said they were shocked by the results.

“Over 87% of our teachers were in favor of this schedule!” Freeman said.

He explained that the majority of the parents were on board as well.

“We had a 60-some-odd-percent approval rating from the parents,” Freeman recalled.

Freeman said the intercessions are more than two-week breaks. For some students it will be a time to get the academic help they need.

“All students will get the first week off, meaning that they will not come to school the last week of September. Everybody takes a week off, including the teachers,” Freeman said. “The second week we will have specific, targeted students that will attend, and any other student that wishes to attend for remediation enrichment. So, it’s not just targeting those students in need. If somebody wants to come and advance their skills we are gonna have activities for them.”

Freeman said intercessions are also a time for teachers to volunteer to work and get paid in addition to their normal salary.

“The second intercession will be in the spring. It will be our normal spring break week and then a week behind that,” Freeman said.

He said if planned properly, this modified schedule can address learning loss and academic needs the district has wanted to change for years.

Both Arnold and Freeman said during the intercessions, there will be activities for kids who come to school who don’t need extra help, so parents won’t need to worry about child care.

Freeman added the Lamar County and Gulfport school districts will be taking up the modified schedules this school year too.

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