Schools start in summer

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DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — It may feel like summer just started, but some students headed back to school Monday. It’s not summer school. Instead, it’s called a balanced calendar schedule. Classrooms at Northeast Elementary Magnet School were filled for the first day of the new year.

Parents, teachers and students all seem to agree the year-round approach is better for learning. Northeast has joined a growing trend with students taking part in four, nine-week semesters. Between the quarter, there are 3-to-6 week breaks.

Faculty say the shortened summer helps kids retain information and briefer quarters prevent burnout in teachers. First year principal Justin Thorlton says he believes the non-traditional schedule works for his school.

At least one parent says she loves the plan since it went into effect. Her daughter likes having more breaks throughout the year, even if summer is shorter. There are some concerns with the schedule though, including possible conflicts with athletics and extracurriculars, but school leaders say there haven’t been major issues with that yet.

Two schools in Champaign’s Unit #4 district made the switch: Barkstall and Kenwood with Kenwood being the first to do so in 1995. It starts the school year Wednesday.

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