Children recoil from year-round school idea CENTRAL -- Union Mills * Westminster * Sandymount * Finksburg


August 30, 1993|By CINDY PARR

Year-round school is a hot topic of late; especially since Gov. William Donald Schaefer spoke in favor of the concept at the Maryland Association of Counties convention more than a week ago.

Personally, the concept for me is curious, but there are some gnawing questions that make me wonder if it would really be a fruitful venture.

For example, how many schools in Carroll County would need to be air-conditioned for summertime education?

What would be the cost to taxpayers to air-condition these schools?

What would be the effect on families who use full-time day care and individuals who provide those services?

While the idea has given me food for thought, the mere mention of going to school throughout the year got a rapid and definitive thumbs-down from my 7-year-old daughter.

"No way -- I don't want to go to school in the summer. It's too hot and I want to be able to go swimming and go to the beach,"

she said.

Interestingly enough, I found varying opinions on the subject from numerous students, parents and teachers in the central Carroll area.

Eleven-year-old Amy Petkovsek didn't hesitate to tell me that she was not in favor of the governor's idea.

"I wouldn't like it," said the West Middle School seventh-grader. "I think we need a break. We should have three summer months off because it's too hot to be in school. They would have to put air conditioning in all the schools, and that would cost a lot of money."

Finksburg resident Faye Dixon, who is both a parent and teacher, said, "I am not in favor of it at all. For young children it would be a problem to go for nine weeks and be off for three weeks. They would lose their routine and their focus. I don't think the children need to go all year long."

Sandymount Elementary School fifth-grader Jason Gerrard also expressed his disfavor.

PD The 9-year-old said, "I wouldn't have time to be with my friends

or go to my Grandma's house or faraway places."

An extremely adamant "No" was the response by 8-year-old William Kelly of Westminster.

"If it were up to me, school would be only one day out of the year because school is boring," said the Robert Moton Elementary third-grader.

Lori Yanke questions the effect year-round school would have on extracurricular activities.

"I would think that sports seasons would be disrupted, and plays or any other projects that take a lot of time, like band camp, would be difficult to do with breaks in the middle," said the 15-year-old Westminster High sophomore.

"I guess it wouldn't be too bad, but I wouldn't like it because I think it's nice to have summer vacation. Besides, if you have a summer vacation, at the end you are ready to go back to school."

Barb Bates, a mother of two school-age children, agreed there were negatives to the proposal.

"Vacations could be difficult and day care for working parents, too. I think nine weeks on and three weeks off would make it hard for kids to get back in sync. It would really be an adjustment since that doesn't give them, especially elementary school children, a lot of time," she said.

Indeed, incorporating a year-round school calendar with 10 weeks of staggered vacation could be a challenge, but there are those who think it could work.

"To achieve all our goals and improve education, it may be a good idea," said Westminster High School teacher Cliff Richardson. "I think it's a good idea, in that it would alleviate over-crowded classrooms and eliminate the need to build new ** schools, and by doing these things it would keep the budget down."

For first-grade teacher Phyllis Levin, the new concept would have to receive total support to be a success.

xTC "We are so used to being off in the summer. It's a mind-set that would have to be changed. It's like teaching a new trick to an old dog," said the Sandymount Elementary teacher. "It would take a lot of changes, but it could work. It's going to take parents, teachers and kids to make those changes."

* If you haven't made a trip to the Carroll County Summer Farmers Market, then Saturday is the day to go.

The market, on the grounds of the Carroll County Ag Center, opens at 8 a.m. and closes at 1 p.m.

Some 50 vendors participate in the market selling local producevegetables, meats, eggs, baked goods, plants, flowers and crafts.

Food and refreshments are also for sale at the market.

& Information: 848-7748.

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