Area students speak to L.A. counterparts about year-round schools

November 15, 1994|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Sun Staff Writer

In the debate over year-round schools, the grown-ups have forgotten to consider the most important question, Anne Arundel County students say.

"A lot of adults are talking about the economics and logistics of it, but we're concerned with the social aspects, like the student government associations and sports," said Elizabeth Teixeira, a Severna Park High senior.

She was among 25 students from schools throughout the county who got some important answers to their questions yesterday from students at Bell High School in Los Angeles during an hourlong video teleconference at a studio at AT&T's Global Business Communications Systems office complex in Linthicum.

The adults, and a few of the students, are to continue the debate at 7 p.m. tonight when the school system's Year Round Task Force meets for the first time at the Nationwide Building on Riva Road in Annapolis.

Yesterday, the California students told their counterparts on the East Coast how they juggle scheduling sports and other activities such as band and summer camp, with a year-round school schedule that could have them attending classes in July instead of October.

Students at Bell High who participate in outside activities at times they're scheduled to be in classes make up the time by going to school on what technically is their vacation and on the time students in another session are in class.

Andy Villwock, a 10th-grader at Broadneck High School, summed it up nicely.

"Here, you can only do summer activities in the summer," he said. "It seems like they're not used to doing special things in the summer."

The students in Los Angeles, though, said they didn't mind.

"You make up the time because you want to. We've been on a year-round schedule most of our lives and we can't dream of being on a traditional schedule," said one Bell High student who didn't identify himself.

Brian Stroop, an eighth-grader at Bates Middle School, said he was unhappy to learn that if the Bell High schedule was used at his school, it would mean "that while I'm on vacation, my friends would be in school."

About a quarter of the schools in the Los Angeles district operate on year-round schedules, in which different groups of students attend school in staggered sessions so the buildings are in use all year.

The video teleconference, the students said, was an interesting way to learn about technology they might one day use in business and satisfy their curiosity on some year-round issues.

"This way we could talk with them as teen-agers and peers, and know firsthand the response to our concerns," said Elizabeth, the Severna Park senior.

Being able to see each another also made a difference.

"I liked that we could see the person. And being able to read their body language helped us tell if they really did like it or not," said Jane Dryer, a seventh-grader at Magothy River Middle School.

Sarah Zaleski, a sophomore at Broadneck High School, said the teleconference was helpful but that the students, parents and educators must begin to analyze the information.

"We were excited because we got a chance to learn about technology and to talk to some students, but now we have to figure out how much what they said relates to us," she said.

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