SPRING 2023 • SESSION 6 • LEARNING ALL YEAR AT ATLAS
While most schools in St. Louis are wrapping up their 2022-2023 school year, Atlas Explorers are still deeply immersed in their learning. Our year-round schedule creates an equitable learning environment that sets all students up for success.
The 10-month school calendar most of us grew up with, starting around September and ending in May or June, became the default when children needed to work in the fields during the summer. But this schedule no longer fits the needs of most American children and families!
When designing our school, the Atlas team conducted focus groups, met with parents one-on-one, and surveyed families. Over and over we heard that families struggle to find quality, affordable care and programming options during the summer months. In addition, many educators worry about “summer slide,” the tendency for students, especially those from low-income families, to lose some of the achievement gains they made during the previous school year. These students are not only missing out on learning when school is not in session, they also lose access to critical social services such as food and childcare.
In response to these academic and socio-emotional concerns, Atlas adopted a year-round school calendar. Our year-round model includes seven academic sessions, each consisting of roughly five weeks of rigorous academic instruction followed by a two-week intersession break. This schedule prevents learning loss and maximizes instructional time. Our winter and spring breaks closely align with other districts’ calendars, and we include two shorter summer breaks so families can enjoy time together while the weather is nice.
"Atlas providing year-round education is yet another extension of their ability to diversify the approach to traditional learning standards. My Explorer now knows nothing more than having the opportunity to enjoy learning throughout the year. It's simply become his expectation. As a parent, I can trust that with partnership, my child's ability to integrate back in the classroom will not be strained due to long breaks. The most integral and appreciated part of Atlas is that even through intersessions, they ensure our child has the tools necessary to continue their learning journey through at-home kits that provide additional learning support for continued growth and development." - Jermecia Starks, parent of current first grader
“The year-round calendar is better for our family because it's closer aligned with other family members. It's a relief to avoid coordinating camp logistics and worrying about summer learning loss. There are several opportunities for vacation or visiting with family many times throughout the year, not just summer. Most importantly, taking a break from the grind of school is rejuvenating for students and staff.” - Scott Clithero, parent of current first grader
Intersession for Students and Staff
During Intersession breaks, families can access affordable camp-like programming onsite at Atlas. Intersession breaks also allow teachers and support staff to work collaboratively with their teams to plan and strengthen lessons for the next academic session. Atlas’ year-round calendar builds in 30 full days of teacher in-service each school year.
“One of the things I love most about working at a year-round school is that our schedule allows for greater work-life balance. Our breaks are perfectly timed and seem to come just when I need them the most! I get to spend extra time with my family, including my two young children, and then return to school refreshed and ready to be my best self for my students.” - Ms. Kristine, Performing Arts
Does our year-round model sound like a good fit for your family? We still have a few spots for incoming K-3 students for the 2023-2024 school year. Take 5 minutes to fill out an application today!