Photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / dolgachovPhoto courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / dolgachov

Catholic French School Board Considers 'Modified School Year'

The region's Catholic French school board is considering switching to a "modified school year".

The Conseil Scolaire Catholique Providence Director of Education Joseph Picard says the school board is considering beginning the 2019-2020 school year on Monday, August 26, and then having a week off either at the beginning of November or sometime in October.

He says during an online consultation last year, there was interest in exploring the possibility of a modified school year.

"The school year is always at least 194 days and traditionally that's between September 1 and June 30," says Picard. "If a school board proposes a calendar that goes outside of those days, it becomes what we call a 'modified school year.'"

Picard says the board trustees asked him this year to do another consultation for a modified school year calendar beginning in 2019.

"I'm going around to the communities informing them when that consultation will take place and once that's taken care of, a report will be presented to the board of trustees in June and they will decide the next steps," he explains.

Picard says the idea behind the proposed change is to promote a more balanced school year.

"You will maintain more energy, a greater engagement of students, and less fatigue," says Picard. "We're looking at student absenteeism and we see certain patterns."

He adds that it's an initiative that would be in line with the school board's mental health strategy.

Picard says it will be interesting to see how the feedback differs across the different schools in the board, which covers quite a large geographical area.

"We could be in a situation wherein one area, parents have great interest in it and staff has a great interest in it and then we look at it very seriously and want to try it," he says. "We'll measure it and do studies on it to see if indeed there is any impact on learning or on shall we say the academic environment."

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