Washington may finally join other states in offering year-around school schedules. House Bill 1163 is currently pending legislative review, and if passed will allow school districts the opportunity to adopt to a year-around school schedule. In a year-around schedule, students attend class the same number of days as their traditional-school counterparts. However, they have shorter summer breaks and more breaks throughout the school year. The most popular year-round schedule is where students attend school for 45 days and then get 15 days off. Year-around schedules provide a great opportunity for schools to mitigate summer learning loss and for students to have a break.
The bill also aims to create expanded learning opportunities for Washington K-12 schools by reestablishing The Learning Grant Program. This program will create a new teacher collaboration model to allow schools to partner with other community-based organizations to provide expanded learning opportunities to Washington students. Data collected by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction shows achievement gaps existing for low-income students and students of color, regardless of their income. Research shows that when these students have access to expanded learning opportunities, they become more engaged, which subsequently helps close the achievement gaps.
Children are the future of America and we need to invest in them. Passing HB 1163 will improve quality of education and enhance the K–12 learning experience by providing all students, regardless of their socioeconomic background, the opportunity to engage in unique learning platforms. We need to act now and show support for HB 1163 because it’s an investment into our future.