Iowa City Community School District leaders consider possible year-round schedules

Superintendent Matt Degner unveiled two example schedules to show the Iowa City Community School District school board what their schedule might look like if they were to adopt a year-round schedule.


Grace Kreber

The Iowa City Community School District held a meeting at the professional development center on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2022.

Sam Knupp, News Reporter

Iowa City Schools are considering adopting a year-round school schedule to prevent learning loss.

During a board meeting on Tuesday, Iowa City Community School District leaders discussed the possibility of adopting a year-round schedule to curb the “summer slide,” or tendency for students to lose their gains in academic skills from the previous school year.

Two new school calendars were proposed during the meeting on Tuesday night. Iowa City Community School District superintendent Matt Degner said the planning was in its early stages and nothing is guaranteed at this point.

The first schedule had school starting in early August and ending at the end of June.  The schedule contained off-days on more religious holidays, a prolonged spring break, and a large number of Fridays off.

The second schedule ran from late August to the end of June with fewer Fridays off, but had similar principles to the first example schedule.

Degner said there are concerns with a year-round schedule that need to be fleshed out such as a shorter window for teachers to work summer jobs and take summer classes, and childcare needs on Fridays. Another concern, specifically with the first schedule is that the district would need special permission from the state of Iowa to start before August 23, Degner said.

School board president Shawn Eyestone said another concern is how it could potentially affect summer camps.

“We’re cutting four or five, six weeks out of their potential revenue stream, right?” Eyestone said. “So what could we do with them? What are their options?”

Board member Lisa Williams said she isn’t too concerned about summer camps as school will mainly be in session during parts of summer where summer camps are difficult to find.

“I’ll say as a parent who’s going through summer camps now, good luck finding a camp in August,” she said.

Board member J.P. Claussen said he’s in favor of a year-round schedule as it gives teachers extra time to recover.

“You hear, ‘Oh, teachers, they take these Fridays off, so they get three day weekends,’” he said.  “It’s not that. You’re tired. And when you’re tired, your immune system breaks down; you get sick on Friday, that’s just real.”

Claussen said by giving more Fridays off, it will allow teachers to miss fewer days and will allow students to get more out of their learning.