SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A longer school year with longer breaks could be on the way for one school in the city.
Robberson Elementary is Springfield's one and only community school. With 98 percent of its students qualifying for free and reduced-price lunches, it offers programs like a food pantry, health clinic, even service dogs in some classrooms. Educators believe a longer school year could improve retention.
"They might be at a certain level when they leave us in May, but then they have had weeks and weeks where they have not had any education or learning experiences, so, when they come back, their academics are a lot lower," said Principal Kevin Huffman.
The pilot program is called the Continuous Learning Calendar. Robberson students would have 170 days of school, just like other Springfield students, but with more breaks. During these breaks, the school doors would be open. Students can get enrichment programs and tutoring sessions.
Administrators say they want to invest in the neighborhood.
"One of the things we hope to achieve is reduce some of the mobility rates that we see at Robberson and some of our other schools. Often mobility and attendance is related to students and families needed to seek resources outside the school day or elsewhere," said Associate Superintendent Ben Hackenwerth.
Attendance would not be required during the breaks. It could cost the district anywhere between ten to thirty thousand dollars to adopt the calendar.
If the board approves, Missouri State University will do a research project on program. If successful, the Continuous Learning Calendar could be adopted in other Springfield schools.