The closure of Foss High School can be prevented by busing students from the other schools to Foss and equalize enrollment at all high schools rather than having overcrowded classrooms by shuttling students en masse from Foss. This keeps the Foss community intact.
The Tacoma School Board should consider closing all schools from Thanksgiving break through New Year’s break. This approach will reduce district costs for heating, lights and bus transportation when it is colder. Athletic events could continue as scheduled because they have separate facilities.
Another consideration is to use a trimester schedule, extend seasonal breaks, and finish the school year in late June or early July. This would result in increased daylight available for classroom instruction, and allow students more daylight hours after school than they have in November and December. Utility expenses are reduced as a cost-saving measure to help the budget deficit and to keep Foss from closing; other elementary schools may not have to shut their doors either.
In order to prepare our students for this century and their future, policy makers and educators need to program accordingly instead of relying on an outdated school calendar year based on an agricultural society. Schools in many industrialized countries have a 200 -207 days calendar year.
An extended school year allows for increased teacher/educator planning time, holiday and seasonal breaks, and more daylight hours. Programming of this sort requires adjusting, yet it’s possible.