Children in the Chandler and Florence unified school districts began school Monday — several weeks before most other East Valley schools resume classes.
“As a parent, I love it,” said Jennifer Marlin, who has two children at Chandler’s Sanborn Elementary School. “The summer breaks were so long when I was a kid, you tend to forget stuff. We have breaks throughout the year (and) can go places. We don’t have to plan on summer. It gives us flexibility with our schedule.”
Both districts have a twoweek fall break, a two-week spring break, and Florence students get three weeks off for winter break when most districts take two.
Chandler spokesman Terry Locke said the district put all of its schools on a modified year-round schedule about 10 years ago and it has been very successful.
“It’s a magnet for parents and teachers,” Locke said. “We attract families because of the calendar.”
Chris Musselman, a father with five children in Florence schools, said three months is too long of a break.
“(The schedule) enables us to have more time to plan more things throughout the year, (and) the kids don’t get stagnant and bored through the summer,” he said.
Musselman, who owns a landscaping business, said summer is his busiest time of year, which makes it impossible to take a vacation. His family has planned a trip for fall break.
“We’re going to see extended family in Southern California knowing that the weather will be great and amusement parks won’t be jam-packed,” he said. “It’s a great time to get away, to be honest with you.”
But it’s not just parents who like the modified calendar.
Maureen Sniff, principal at Chandler Traditional Academy-Goodman Campus, said the two-week breaks allow students enough time to relax and come back refreshed and ready to work.
“It makes it a little crazy for getting the school ready in the summer, but we always seem to manage,” she said.
Karen Lee, a fifth-grade teacher at CTA-Goodman, prefers the schedule much more than the traditional calendar she worked in Seattle.
“From a climate standpoint, it makes sense,” she said. “Also, with three months off, you lose a lot academically and in learning momentum.”
With the breaks at the end of each quarter, Lee said, the modified calendar feels “more natural.”
The only downside she could see is that some teachers depend on having a summer job, which could be difficult with just seven weeks off. However, summer school sessions, which are a way for teachers to make extra income, are still available.
“I’m ready to be back,” she said.
Even Therese Issanda’s sons, who just moved to Chandler from France and are used to starting school mid-September, were anxious to begin classes Monday.
“The kids are excited to see new schools and (make) new friends,” she said.