Petersburg superintendent dodges year-round school question

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PETERSBURG, Va. (WTVR) - Petersburg Superintendent Dr. Joseph Melvin has been pushing for year-round schooling at A.P. Hill Elementary and Peabody Middle School.

It is his solution to help the failing schools meet state standards, but CBS 6 News wanted to know if it is a viable solution.

"There is nothing in the research or the professional journals that indicate there's a direct relationship between more time in schools and student performance," said Dr. Bill Bosher, a former state superintendent.

Dr. Bosher said he doesn't think year-round schools is the right answer, and several online education studies back his statement like an article from Elon University, which states year-rounds schools can save money, but won't help boost academic scores.

Those in favor of year-round schools in Petersburg said a 2012 JLARC study indicates that year-round classes tend to improve test scores of African Americans. But in that same study, CBS 6 discovered that it also said that analysis of SOL test data found no appreciable difference in year-round and traditional calender year schools.

CBS 6 tried several times to contact Dr. Melvin about these findings. In fact, reporter Chelsea Rarrick tried again Wednesday night at a public work session, but was stopped by the school system's spokeswoman who said he would not be answering questions.

Rarrick took the findings to the Petersburg School Board Chairman.

"When we met with the consultants and the consultants came here and they gave a presentation to the school board..... that we are moving in the right direction and this is something that we are willing to try," said Chairman Kenneth Pritchett.