School calendars allowed to change in 2013

SYLVIE PAILLARD / Kamloops Daily News
November 12, 2012 01:00 AM

B.C. school districts are now free to set their own teaching calendars, opening the possibility of year-round schooling or staggered holidays instead of the standard model of summers off.

On Friday, the provincial government approved regulations that back legislation passed earlier this year allowing school boards to deviate from the standard school calendar.

But just what those regulations look like is still unclear since they haven't yet been made public.

"It's something we're waiting for," said Kamloops-Thompson School District Supt. Terry Sullivan. "As soon as we have the regulation . . . then we'll structure a way to have fairly broad public discussion out of that."

Sullivan said he hopes those discussions can start in January.

According to a news release, the Education Ministry will continue to set the minimum number of instructional hours, but school boards will be able to set the number and dates of school days, vacation periods and professional development days.

The new calendar options will take effect with the 2013-14 school year.

Sullivan said it's worth exploring a new approach to school calendars since the old calendar was based on agrarian societies of the 19th century when children were needed during harvest season.

That structure has been difficult to shed since generations of families have gotten used to it and many parts of society have built around it.

But students, families and instructors are seeking increasingly varied ways to achieve educational goals and a flexible calendar would facilitate the changing needs, said Sullivan.


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