Volume 94, Issue 69

Thursday, January 25, 2001


NEWS

Government initiates funding for more nursing

Helicopter improves cops: prof

Year-round school to be debated

Free trade could span education and health

Canadians getting older and healthier

Briefs

Planet Me

Year-round school to be debated

By Carrie Gennoe
Gazette Staff

A new provincial task force has been created to advise the governemnt on ways of improving the academic performance of students in Ontario – including the potential of year-round schooling.

Rob Savage, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Education, confirmed the Tory government's announcement, which was made earlier this week

He said the task force would look at issues such as the lengths of a school period, the semester system and may even examine the potential of year-round schooling.

Savage said the details of the task force's consultation process have yet to be determined, but noted their report will be due on June 1st, 2001. "Once we've received the report we'll decide what steps we'll take next," he added.

Dave Ross, the executive assistant in communications with the Ontario Secondary School Teacher's Federation, said the term "year-round" may be misleading. "If we're talking about a tri-mester or quad-mester, where the time is basically the same, then it doesn't matter whether you start in September or in June," he said. "It's just a mechanical reconstruction of the day." Ross also stressed year-round schooling could bring a heavier workload to teachers.

Rebecca Coulter, the associate dean of the faculty of education, said the impact year-round schooling could have on families must also be considered..

However, Coulter said she did see one potential benefit. "School buildings are expensive infratructures and it may be more economically effective, in that the buildings are not sitting empty for the summer," she added.

Ross questioned whether existing buildings could operate during the summer months. "A lot of schools are not equipped to deal with summer months in terms of air-conditioning," he added.

Sir George Ross Secondary School in London runs upon a year-round curriculum, said Patty Thompson, vice-principal at Ross. "Our rationale was to improve student learning," she noted.

She said Ross S.S. runs on a system of eight weeks off, two weeks on, adding she believed the retention of students is heightened by shorter durations off. "It's difficult for students to have full-time jobs."






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