Vacation's Over at San Fernando Valley High Schools - NBC Southern California

Vacation's Over at San Fernando Valley High Schools

Three high schools experiment with "balanced traditional" schedule



    It's Back to School at Three Valley High Schools

    Three schools resume classes early to give teens a better chance of retaining what they learn. The principal says it is working. (Published Friday, Aug. 5, 2011)

    Summer vacation has ended at three San Fernando Valley high schools that are taking part in an educational experiment.
    Students once again filled the halls of Arleta, Sun Valley and Polytechnic High Schools. The pilot program is called a balanced traditional schedule.

      "The reason balanced traditional schedule was developed was to ensure students had shorter summer vacations because studies show large learning loss," said Paul del Rosario, the principal at Sun Valley High School.
    The pilot program is now in its second year and, Del Rosario said, it is already showing promise.
    "I know that last year, there was a big increase in the percentage of students who passed KC as 10th or first years on the first try," he said. "I think it had something to do with the schedule change."
    Thirteen other San Fernando Valley high schools resume classes on Aug. 15.
    The school district also wanted older students to get used to what it called a "collegiate" schedule.
    Students will get a seven-week break in the winter which supporters say gives students who are struggling a chance to catch up.
    Some students say they like the new schedule because it gives them a chance to catch up sooner with school friends,
    Others point out it plays havoc with winter sports such as basketball.
    But most students said they were neutral to the idea.
    However, only three quarters of the students enrolled actually showed up on the first day of class.
    Last year, some parents insisted on keeping their children home until September.