Rio Rancho Public Schools consider ‘balanced’ calendar

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RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Rio Rancho Public Schools is looking for feedback on a proposed “balanced” calendar, instead of the current traditional calendar.

“No decisions have been made right now. What we are really looking for is parent and staff input on whether they are interested in us considering a different approach to what the school year would look like,” said Beth Pendergrass, the strategy and engagement officer at Rio Rancho Public Schools.

Currently, RRPS operates on a “traditional calendar” with three small breaks during the year and a longer summer break.

Now, they’re proposing the “balanced calendar.”

“The balanced calendar includes the same number of days as what a student would see in the traditional calendar. However, you have a shorter summer and longer breaks dispersed throughout the school year,” Pendergrass said.

To gauge interest in the idea, the district wants parents and staff to take a survey. They also have options on what a balanced schedule would look like.

District officials say one includes two weeks off for fall break, a week at Thanksgiving, followed by a normal winter break and then a condensed summer.

“Some of the pros people talk about with a balanced calendar is more time for family vacations throughout the year. Right now, you have parents who will pull their kids from school to take a family vacation. This would provide some of the time throughout the year for those vacations,” Pendergrass said.

Officials say this would also minimize the learning loss during the summer and reduce staff burnout.

There are still things to consider, though.

“A lot of people are concerned about what that does to activities or to athletics. Summer work or summer jobs some people enjoy the long summers and take longer vacations,” Pendergrass said.

On some of those concerns, district officials say they’re waiting to gauge community interest in this change before moving forward.

Parents and staff have until next Friday, November 3, to complete the survey. A little over 2,000 people have completed it. If you’re an RRPS parent, a link to it should be in your email.