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Grant Sought For Study Of Extended School Year

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Ann Arbor School District officials hope to begin a study this year on the feasibility of instituting an extended school year. The Board of Education last Inight unanimously approved a request to prepare an application for a State Department of Education grant to conduct such a study. I The proposed study would not consider a "year-around" version of an extended school year, however, such as School Trusftee William C. Godfrey suggested last year. (After considerable investigation, the idea was dropped). Instead, the economie and educational feasibility of institutling a "split trimester" schoo lyear would be investigated. Itisthought such a plan Iwould save the school distric I money in the long run and woulc lallow students to complete thei leducations in a shorter perio lof time. The split trimester would fea ■ture two mandatory terms an la third term, half of whic would be mandatory for all puils and the other half of which vould be optional. According to Ivan Bare, diector of grant programs for he public schools, the split trimester idea would assure all pupils of at least 180 days of intruction, at east 30 consecutive lays of summer vacation, and at least 18 recess days during ;he school year. Bare also beieves the plan would provide 'a greater potential for a qualty education than is currently available under the conventional school year plan." Under the split trimester plan, students could complete the equivalent of six regular y e a r s of instruction in five years - thereby reducing by one year the total length of time they would be in school. The trimester schedule migh be as follows: -Trimester I (mandatory) Sept. 1-Dec. 16. -Trimester II (mandatory) Dec. 26-April 7. -Trimester UIA (manda tory): April June 8. -Trimester IIIB (optional): I une 10-July 28. Bare said he and nis staff I wish to explore this plan 1 ause "it appears to us to hold I tie greatest combination of I ucational and economie advanages of the severál plans for an extended school year which we have cursorily examined to date, and because it appears to )e the most practicable in ; e r m s of community acceptance." Bare also believes the plan will result in fínancial savings in the long run because of the ultimate reduction of new classroom construction. Fewer classrooms w o u 1 d be needed, he thinks, because children could complete their education in less time. Bare said that other forms of an extended school year probably would be investigated during the study. If the school district' s grant application is approved, the study will begin this winter. The cost of the study would be approximately $20,000.