Balanced Calendar Initiative

A positive impact

This initiative is intended to support public school districts, tribal compact schools, and charter schools in exploring the feasibility and effectiveness of a student-centered balanced school calendar in their school districts with the goal of positively impacting student learning and success.

The AESD is one of several statewide organizations partnering with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to implement their Balanced Calendar Initiative. OSPI’s state and federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds are financing this initiative.

Background

In Washington state, a traditional school year lasts 180 days, with a few short breaks along the way and a long break in the summer. Research shows that students who have consistent access to enriching activities throughout the year are more successful in school. Families in low-income communities often do not have the same access to enrichment. They rely on schools to provide supplemental instruction — if they can — during extended vacation periods to maintain students’ academic progress.

What if we could reimagine the school calendar in a way that supports all students to improve and equalize academic achievement? Consider the “balanced” calendar.

What is a “balanced” calendar?

Students who attend schools that follow a balanced calendar receive the same number of instructional hours as those who attend schools that follow a traditional calendar. A balanced calendar modifies the traditional 180-day school calendar to keep the learning process continuous. Students have periodic, shorter breaks rather than one long summer break. This may lead to less review time at the beginning of the school year and more instructional time for all students.

Children from low-income communities who attend schools that follow a balanced calendar outperform their counterparts in traditional-calendar schools.

Upcoming Events

Statewide Webinar for Families & Communities Modified School Calendars: A Balanced Approach to Student Success

11/17/21 @ 6:00pm – 7:00pm

Schools, families, and community members are invited to join this webinar to learn how a modified/balanced calendar can support equity and student achievement!

Washington’s regional Educational Service Districts, OSPI, and other state partners are hosting webinars throughout this year for schools and communities to come together on this topic. On November 17th, David Hornak, the Executive Director for the National Year Round School Association, and a parent panel will share insights for communities, families, and schools to consider.

Mark your calendars – there’s no need to register! Simply click “Join the Webinar” to attend.

View Flyer

Book Study, Summer Versus School by James M. Pedersen

More information coming soon!

OSPI District Grantees

Western Region (ESDs 113, 112, 114, 121, 189)
  • Crescent
  • Elma
  • Lopez Island
  • Mount Vernon
  • North Thurston
  • Oakville
  • Olympia
  • Rainier Valley Leadership Academy
  • Vancouver
  • Winlock
Central Region (ESDs 105 & 171)
  • Highland
  • Kittitas
  • Mount Adams
  • Selah
  • Soap Lake
  • Thorp
  • Toppenish
  • Union Gap
  • Wahluke
  • Yakima
Eastern Region (ESDs 123 & 101)
  • Columbia (Walla Walla)

Grants available

Please apply for a planning grant if you are interested in learning more about how a balanced calendar could work in your school district. Districts may apply any time during the 2021–22 school year. Initiative partners are working closely with OSPI and national experts to support grantees and other districts exploring this approach in their communities.

Resources

The AESD is one of several statewide organizations partnering with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to implement their Balanced Calendar Initiative. OSPI’s state and federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds are financing this initiative.

Past Event Materials

10/20/21 – Statewide Balanced Calendar Summit
Summit Slide Deck
Keynote, David Hornak, National Association for Year-Round Education Presentation Slides

May 2021 – Statewide Balanced Calendar Summit
Event included keynotes from State Superintendent Reykdal, Senator Curtis King, and David Hornak from the National Association for Year-Round Education – Video Library

Initiative Partners

OSPI

Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction

Contact: Jon Mishra

AESD

Association of Educational Service Districts

Contact: Jessica Vavrus

Regional ESD Contacts

Western WA, Dana Anderson
Central WA, Kevin Chase
Eastern WA, Darcy Weisner

AWSP

Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP)

Contact: Scott Seaman

Washington Education Association (WEA)

Washington Education Association (WEA)

Contact: Sally McNair

National Association of Year-Round Education

National Association of Year-Round Education

Contact: David Hornak

WASA

Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA)

Contact: Mike Nelson

WSSDA

Washington State School Directors’ Association (WSSDA)

Contact: Tim Garchow