Calgary·Video

Year-round schooling in Calgary means back-to-school comes in early August

Summer may only be halfway done, but it was back to school on Wednesday for hundreds of students enrolled in six Calgary Catholic schools that offer year-round learning programs.

Teachers, students and parents opt for shorter summer break and longer holidays throughout the year

Calgary kids at Catholic school Our Lady of Fatima can opt for year-round education program

5 years ago
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Summer may only be halfway done, but it was back to school on Wednesday for hundreds of students enrolled in six Calgary Catholic schools that offer year-round learning programs. 1:17

Summer may only be halfway done, but it was back to school on Wednesday for hundreds of students enrolled in six Calgary Catholic schools that offer year-round learning programs.

Among them is Our Lady of Fatima School, where the parents of about 190 children have opted for the modified schedule.

That represents about one-third of the elementary school's total student body.

It was back to school for 190 students at Our Lady of Fatima on Aug. 3. The Calgary Catholic school offers a year-round program for parents who choose it. (CBC)

The year-round schedule sees the curriculum divided into four equal terms with students getting a shortened summer vacation, a two-week holiday in October and an extra week of holidays at both Christmas and Easter.

Principal John Griffith said the year-round program has proven popular among many families who believe in research that suggests students suffer less learning loss with a shorter summer break but also see a "convenience factor" in it.

"They think it works well for their kids academically, but it also means it might work better with their work schedule and they might be able to plan holidays as a family more conveniently through different times of the year," he said.

Teachers, too, have volunteered to work on the modified schedule.

"The teachers who are on this schedule love it, because they get those nice breaks throughout the course of the year," Griffith said. "It's a more balanced schedule."

Cynthia Tulissi is a Grade 1 teacher who chooses to work on the modified, year-round school schedule, which she prefers. (CBC)

This is the second summer than Cynthia Tulissi, a Grade 1 teacher at Our Lady of Fatima, has returned to teach her class in early August.

She said she's observed a noticeable difference in how quickly students return to learning mode when they have a shorter summer break.

"In the past when I had July and August off, there was a much higher rate of students having the chance to regress over summer and to forget things and need to adjust more when they come back to school," she said.

"I've seen less adjustment time since I've been in the year-round system."

Grade 6 student Joana Arriola said it was her parents' decision to enrol her in the year-round school, but so far she loves it.

Joana Arriola is in Grade 6 and says she's enjoying the year-round school schedule. (CBC)

"It's going great," she said.

"I like it because when the other kids come, we'll be more advanced than them."

Her classmate Luke Capadosa said he likes getting to see his friends again sooner in the summer and, to be blunt, he's had enough of holidays by the time August rolls around.

"Summer gets boring," he said.

"In the beginning we went camping and at the end we went camping again. I'm pretty sure we're not going anywhere else after that … so I'm actually glad that school starts."

Luke Capadosa is in Grade 6 and likes the shorter summer break of the year-round schedule, which means longer holidays at other times of the year. (CBC)

With files from Evelyne Asselin

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