All APS schools now on traditional school schedule

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(ABC 6 News) – For more than ten years, students and parents at Sumner Elementary School and Woodson Kindergarten Center in Austin have come to appreciate the 45/15 calendar year.

But recent data produced by the Austin Public School board shows that the schedule is not working as well as many had hoped.

“Through our analysis and looking at that, we’ve looked at the outcomes not meeting where we want to be. So, looking at that information we have made the decision to return to the traditional calendar,” said Superintendent Dr. Joey Page.

This new data from APS shows that Sumner students are struggling academically.

Not only have math and reading scores been declining over the years, but these scores are the lowest among all the neighboring elementary schools.

But one Sumner mom says the lower test scores are due to many Sumner students coming from different backgrounds.

“We have a lot of student body that comes from families that speak a language other than English at home so I think that might be more the issue than the calendar,” Varign Van Vugt said.

Van Vugt has had one child go through Sumner, another that currently attends, as well as the youngest on the 45/15 program at Woodson. For her family, she has never had a problem with the schedule.

While about a quarter of students opted-out of the school to attend different schools in the district ten years ago, this year around 57% of students are choosing to go elsewhere.

The board also decided all incoming students will attend their neighborhood school to balance out overall enrollment numbers throughout the district.

“We can go back to our strong neighborhood school model so that we have schools that are operating at the right capacities. Some of our buildings are over capacity, some are under and so being good stewards of the taxpayers dollars and resource management, we want to make sure that we’re utilizing our facilities to their full capacity,” Page said.

While board members say this decision is in the best interest of everyone, some Sumner parents feel differently and they’re sad to see it go.

“It’s just really disappointing that they didn’t even ask the parents and input and how it would affect them or like during Summer obviously people are fighting for daycare, cause there’s so many more kids…In 45/15 you only have to worry about those three weeks of where your kid is gonna go and you don’t have to fight for spots,” another parent, Amber Green explained.

Other parents say that they realize why there are some benefits to the decision.

“It’s kind of a bittersweet farewell. You know we have a lot of students in the district and this is the plan to try to balance out the issues that we’ve been made aware of . We just have to adjust and make the best of it.” Varign Van Vugt said.

The traditional school schedule will take effect next year. The plan is all incoming first graders will attend their neighborhood school, but 2nd-4th grade students at Sumner can choose what they want to do.

They can be grandfathered into their neighborhood school or, they can stay at Sumner, but there will not be transportation provided from the district.

If parents have any questions, they can click here.