News Views: Give them a break

The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school board wants to add an extra week to spring break.

Some people are unhappy about this, but not so much students and teachers.

The local school board wants to double the length of spring break to two weeks, as other districts have done, to cut costs.

To make up for lost instruction time, trustees are recommending adding 10 minutes to the current school day, as well as eliminating late starts and early dismissals on Fridays at elementary and secondary schools.

The latter is what upsets some parents; they like their schedules the way they are.

Some would have to make child-care arrangements for that extra week, which is no easy task, and may cost them some money.

But the school district is trying to save some money (about $200,000) and, along with a few other efficiencies, claims that the changes would not affect student learning.

It may even help them, the district suggests, although how is not clearly defined in a commissioned study.

But the study does categorically state that classroom time is not directly linked to student achievement; rather the quality of instruction and the amount of time students are engaged and challenged is where the benefits lie.

So 10 minutes either way isn’t going to make a difference it the teacher doesn’t take advantage of it.

And if teachers do, more time each day is better.

And if students and teachers come back from an extended spring break feeling more refreshed than if they had less time off, all the better.

One other thing the study found: learning improves when everyone is on the same page.

So give the students a break.

– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News