Local Principal Discusses Year-Round School Study

Lynchburg, VA - The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission did a study to see if year-round schools in Virginia are worth the extra money.

According to the study, success from the schools depends on race and economic background. Numbers show black, Hispanic and economically disadvantaged students benefited the most from year-round schools.

Leverne Marshall has been principal at William Marvin Bass Elementary for 19 years. He helped convert the school to a year long program 7 years ago after noticing a significant learning loss in students over summer breaks.

"We had to re-teach, re-teach and re-teach over and over again. We were starting back over from scratch, and we knew we had to do something," he said.

He noticed an increase in SOL scores within the first year with both black and white students.

The recent study conducted by JLARC found that in Virginia, SOL scores at year-long schools overall weren't much better than traditional calendar schools. The largest improvements were seen in black and Hispanic students.

"The majority of my students here are African American students," said Marshall.

Marshall says the year-round program may not work for all students, but it does work for his.

"Here at Bass we are proving that the kids can do well, they can read and write and they can do math."

According to the study, the concern is the cost. Operating a year-round school in Virginia costs, on average, 3 % more it does to operate regular schools. That doesn't include transportation or food service.

Principal Marshall says the improvement his students have made is worth it.

The study also suggests that some areas could benefit from year-round schools, specifically areas with a high percentage of black or Hispanic students. But in Lynchburg, it certainly seems to be helping.