Examining Bass Elementary's Recipe For Success

The day after Labor Day? It's just another Tuesday for teachers and students at Bass Elementary in Lynchburg. After nearly 10 years, it's clear the students and teachers at Bass move to their own beat.Kim Patsell is a special education teacher at Bass, and has been for 10 years. The concept of year-round schooling was completely new to her, but it's a concept she's in favor of. Says Patsell, "One of the things I found to be a true benefit is that you didn't have that 'summer slide', that you see in the traditional classes."In 2006, Bass Elementary School implemented it's new year round schedule. Students do 180 days in the classroom, just like every other school, with an additional 25 days of 'Intersession'. It's opportunities for students to get instruction in a small classroom environment. Within two years of the schedule being put in place, student SOL pass rates went up across the board, between 5 and 15 percent."New principal Monica Hendricks says students have been in the classrooms for 6-7 weeks now, having just come off an 'Intersession' period. The periods are helpful, she says, because "The teachers were able to focus on that small group of students, the different learning modalities, and really hone in on some of those deficit skills."School Board members hope a planning grant will help determine the merits of expanding year-round schooling at Bass, and perhaps to other schools in the district. Kim Patsell says it takes a commitment - from teachers, and the community. "We want to see our students succeed. And this model that we're using ensures that you're constantly enriching, and you're constantly caring, and we're providing the support that those children need."