School all year? Hopewell students could find out soon

The Tri-Cities

HOPEWELL, Va. (WRIC) — Parents in Hopewell can share their thoughts on year-round schooling during a town hall on Thursday night with the school board. 

Community members have been encouraged to let their voices be heard on whether or not they feel year-round school for their children is a good idea. Some schools in Chesterfield and Petersburg have already begun teaching students year-round.  

Hopewell City Public Schools is proposing a “balanced schedule,” which would rotate nine weeks of school with three weeks off year-round.   

“All of our research and study has led us to believe that it’s the right fit for our children and our school district,” Melody Hackney, Hopewell’s superintendent, said. “We’ve just taken that summer schedule of time off and divided it throughout the year.”

Hackney says the proposal aims to keep students learning during the months of summer. 

“At-risk children, children of color, children of color, children from homes of poverty, data is very clear those children suffer during those times of lack of structured activity, lack of supervision,” Hackney told 8News. 

She told 8News that more than half of students finishing third grade are not reading at their grade level. Hopewell’s superintendent also said that teachers have been surveyed and she believes they share her thoughts on the proposal.  

“We have to help catch those children up,” Hackney said. “We feel strongly that the vast majority of our teachers are on board.” 

Stephanie Robinson, a grandmother of three students in the Hopewell school district, shared an enthusiasm for the idea of year-round schooling. 

“I think it’s a great idea,” she said. “In the summertime, the kids don’t have nothing to do in Hopewell. Some of the parents don’t have the money to put them in things during the summer. I feel like if they’re in the school, the school can offer them things to do to keep them off the streets and out of trouble.”

Opponents of the proposal said that children deserve a summer break and one Hopewell student believes some students won’t show up to class. 

“We already suffer from like attendance issues,” they said. “I don’t think it’s a good idea to put us in year-round schools.”

The school board is expected to vote on the proposal within the next month. 

To vote on 8News’ Facebook poll, click here. 

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