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April 29, 2014 > Think Different - summer vacation eliminated at Alsion

Think Different - summer vacation eliminated at Alsion

Submitted By Alsion Montessori School

Would you rather have a school vacation lasting three consecutive months during the summer or three separate month- long vacations occurring in the winter, spring and summer?

This year, Alsion Montessori Middle/High School is making the switch from the traditional three month long summer vacation to THREE one month vacations: May 24 to June 22;December 19 to January 26, and August 5 to September 1.

Alsion Montessori, adjacent to Ohlone CollegeÕs Mission San Jose campus, enrolls students ages 12 to 18 and includes grades 7, 8 and 9 in its Junior High program and grades 10, 11 and 12 in the Alsion Early College program. The schoolÕs Early College program enables high school- age students to attend mostly college courses at Ohlone College, earning up to 72 units of transferrable college units by the time they graduate from high school at Alsion.

For AlsionÕs Early College students, the new year-round schedule is not new at all. Since 2005 when the Early College program started, the Early College school year conformed to Ohlone CollegeÕs trimester schedule. Thus, only the Alsion students in the Junior High program and their families must adjust to trimester school schedule with three month-long vacations

So what are the advantages of abandoning the traditional schedule with one long summer schedule and going to a trimester schedule with three shorter month long school breaks for AlsionÕs Junior High community?

* When students return to school in September after a three-month absence from the classroom, they will have forgotten some of which they learned during the previous school year. Researchers call this the ÒSumer SlumpÓ. Teachers are well acquainted with the ÒSummer Slump.Ó That is why they typically begin the year reviewing material taught during the previous year to recover what was lost during the summer. The new year-round schedule for AlsionÕs 7th, 8th and 9th grade students will reduce the ÒSummer SlumpÓ and result in better achievement gains during the year.

* At the adolescent level, ÒMontessoriÓ is all about experiential, hands- on, project based learning. Summer, with its longer hours of daylight and fair weather is more congenial to being outdoors to applying math and science principles than any other time of year.

* A significant number of AlsionÕs families have relatives in South and East Asia, which are uncomfortably hot during AmericaÕs school summer vacation time. Alsion families visit relatives in Asia during Winter Break, which was only ten days long. In reality, families require more than ten days to visit family Òback homeÓ and most return to the Bay Area a week or two after the resumption of school after January 1. With the new month-long Winter Break, students are not required to catch up with the rest of the class. Moreover, between January 3 and January 26, the ski slopes and California freeways are less crowed than peak holiday time. And the airfares for East Ðbound Alsion families are lower, too.

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