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More schools across Mississippi continue to adopt modified calendars

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – The school year isn’t what it once was for some school districts.

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School districts across the state are changing their academic calendars to enhance learning opportunities that may not be available during the traditional school schedule.

An increasing number of school districts in Mississippi are adopting what is known as the modified school calendar.

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It exchanges the traditional Summer Break for more frequent breaks during the school year. It also provides additional academic enrichment opportunities to cater to the ever-changing needs of education.

No matter where you go in Mississippi, the school calendar has 180 days of classes. But in some districts, how those days are laid out looks a little different.

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Instead of a long summer break, students have two-week intersessions in the fall and spring along with regular holiday breaks.

The Starkville Oktibbeha County Consolidated School District was one of the first in our area to adopt what is known as the modified calendar.

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“When we decided to launch into it, we really felt the benefits were going be great for our students in being able to have some real-time intervention. Particularly for those students who are struggling in school,” said Haley Montgomery, Director of Communication for Starkville schools.

Teachers and students just returned from their two-week fall break.

Montgomery said optimism and attendance are on the rise.

“I think we’re seeing great improvement in our teacher morale, in particular, of them being able to have some of those breaks. But also we’re seeing an uptick in our attendance. You know, throughout the year, which we can hopefully attribute some of that to students being on task and feeling excited about school,” she said.

These extended breaks can feel like a vacation to some students. While others may use it as a time to regain some lost ground.

“Maybe they need to catch up on some of their skills or maybe they missed some things. This allows us several times during the school year to have that focused intervention for them. So, they aren’t waiting to the end of the school year and then realizing that they’ve missed a year’s worth or they’re behind on a year’s worth of skills in their learning,” said Montgomery.

According to the Department of Education, 29 school districts have adopted modified academic calendars for the 2023-2024 school year.

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