News: Some Edmonton kids back in class

Published in the August 10th issue of The Edmonton Sun. News

Some Edmonton kids back in class

Edmonton Sun

While most kids were still fast asleep Monday at 8:30 a.m., hundreds were back in the classroom, seated in their desks, nearly a month before they normally would.

The 418 students at St. Catherine Elementary/Junior High School at 10915 110 St., are participating in a three-year, year-round schooling pilot program in an effort to ensure continuous learning for students, but that means saying goodbye to summer.

“Right now we go to school, but my friends are sleeping at home. I’m kind of jealous,” said 14-year-old Justin Peralta, who is starting Grade 9.

But Peralta’s little sister Christine doesn’t mind the new system.

“I’m ready to go,” said the nine-year-old Grade 4 student.

Last fall, parents were asked to take a survey on whether or not year-round schooling should be implemented.

At St. Catherine, where over 50 nationalities are represented in the students, over 74% of parents and the majority of staff surveyed agreed with the year-round model — hoping it will lead to successful learning outcomes for students.

“Hopefully the smaller break will give them more success,” said principal Dan Donnelly.

Dad Kevin Bui said his three children were eager to get back to the classroom.

“No one was complaining this morning at all,” he said. “They are excited to see their friends and come back to school.”

The new schedule gives students a two-week break in October and one extra week of spring break to make up for weeks lost during the summer.

Some kids weren’t happy with the change.

“Since the vacations are all over the place, my family… they don’t know where to go anymore and we can’t stay as long,” said Grade 9 student Jamela Camat, 13.

If the pilot program is a success, Edmonton Catholic Schools will look into implementing the model into other schools.

“Other schools will be waiting to see how well this initiative goes,” said Joan Carr, superintendent for the Catholic school district.

“We’re looking at a three-year window and at that time we will re-evaluate.”

For now staff and students at St. Catherine are just trying to get back into a familiar routine while adjusting to the earlier start.

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