IS THERE A BETTER WAY?
Principal Howard Lappin of Los Angeles' James A. Foshay Middle School showed the Commission an example of a "year-round education" program. Despite the name, most year-round schools are a reorganization of the 180-day school year; they do not provide additional time for either learning or nonacademic services. Nevertheless, their existence indicates that alternative calendars are feasible in many areas and year-round education is probably the most widely copied alternative to the traditional calendar. Nationwide, nearly 2,000 public and private schools, enrolling more than 1.4 million children, are on year-round calendars, with the lion's share of schools and enrollment in California-about 1,300 schools and 1.16 million children.
The year-round schedule creates four separate schools within Foshay's walls. Foshay operates four different schedules, each beginning and ending at a different time of the year with one quarter of the school's enrollment. Students normally spend only 180 days at school, but it is used year round, with three-quarters of the school's enrollment in the building at any given time. Two-week inter-sessions between school terms permit students to receive an additional 60 hours (ten days) of instruction if needed.
The school operates some Saturday classes for both students and parents, including a joint effort with the University of Southern California. The joint program enrolls 60 students who are guaranteed full assistance to attend USC if they persist and complete the Scholastic Assessment Test with combined math and English scores of at least 1000. The USC program also requires mandatory Saturday classes for the students and their parents.
The Extended Day and Year: One Community's Experience with Public Demand Members of The National Education Commission on Time and Learning