Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Excellent balanced-day piece

I first thought this would be a fairly pedestrian piece on balanced-day schedules for elementary schools vs. more traditional schedules and it certainly starts out like that. I was preparing for a rash of school board people expounding the virtues of 100-minute blocks and two nutrition breaks, etc. (there is some of that) countered against parents' concerns over the loss of a long lunch hour and kids not being able to walk home from school for lunch, etc.
It includes some great insight however, which floored me. For example:
Dan Russell, principal at Dufferin Elementary School in Owen Sound, said he can't prove literacy test scores have improved because of the balanced day, but scores have improved.
He said he was skeptical about the balanced day concept because he was concerned it would diminish the opportunity to run house league sports and other lunch-hour activities.
But having two breaks provides double the opportunities for extracurricular activities, he said. It also improves student behaviour because kids don't get bored in the playground during the 40 minutes they have now after eating lunch, he said.
Even if balanced day has no effect on literacy rates, he'd favour it over the old way, Russell said. "Even if I can't prove the instructional piece, I can still justify it and favour it because of the other piece."
Well done, and kudos to the Sun Times' Scott Dunn.


Anonymous said...

Yep, the pros and cons of the Balanced School Day line up pretty evenly on both sides of the issue.

I still say that it doesn't matter how they configure the school day, that good teachers can teach no matter where they are and what the configuration looks like.

This is just one of many we've seen over the last 40 years.

If it works for one school and not another fine, all schools shouldn't be forced to adopt this model.

I did read somewhere this morning...I think on another blog that maybe the BSD is just easier for management and admin. purposes?

It's one of those new things that we'll have to wait and see as to its effectiveness.

One thing that I've heard from parents here is that the kids eat too much and the schedule changes their eating habits.

Anonymous said...

Balanced day is all about supervision schedules. For some exceptionally crazy reason, teachers need to eat lunch together. Could you imagine a supermarket working on the same principle? With balanced day, teachers a specified lunch hour, so their supervision times can be utilized more effectively by administration without the hassle from the union.

Anonymous said...

Note to self: read prior to hitting submit.

teachers a specified lunch hour should be teachers don't have specified lunch hour

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:09 - no, I can't imagine any business running like the education system does. They'd be either fiscally or morally bankrupt if a service provider or professional failed to give the customers, clients what they wanted.

The amount of wool being pulled over unsuspecting school communities is enough to clothe a small country is sweaters.