People have touched-on this topic recently so I thought I'd start a new thread. The issue is year-round schooling.
In most parts of North America, the school-calendar has followed the agrarian-calendar for the most part. School goes from September through to mid June or the end of June, and then resumes in September. 100+ years ago, this made sense - the majority of the children lived on farms and were expected to be there to help with the harvest, although, in more northern areas, they could be needed through early September as well. In any event, the local school-calendars accomodated this.
However, with increased urbanization, this is no longer relevant for most families. I do know that in some areas there's been a movement towards more year-round schooling. In some cases, it's simply due to space. That means some schools (mainly high schools, from what I understand) are on a "multi tract" system. Three-quarters of the students are in the building at any particular time; the others are on a three-week vacation period - so the school is able to accomodate 25% more students. I'll admit that I have no experience with this sort of model. In others, the school is single-tract. That means that they have more frequent, and shorter, vacation periods - but it doesn't increase the school student capacity.
When the latter model was brought up with the provincial government about 15 years ago I honestly thought that it had some merit. Students wouldn't get so restless as they often do after an 8-week vacation, and it could be more attractive to parents who couldn't possibly get any time off from their own jobs during summertime. However, there was major parental opposition and it pretty much ended there. (I was in favour of the idea locally, but no one paid attention to me...
At the same time, there was nothing preventing individual schools from trying this model, and a school in a neighbouring district has done this very successfully. They still get the "standard" Christmas and Spring Break periods, but it's combined with shorter 3-week closures and the kids return at the beginning of August. For both students and staff, this school has a waiting list. I can understand the appeal for the staff at a standard-schedule-school - sure, getting July and August might seem great, but what if your spouse is the manager of a garden store? He/she almost certainly couldn't get time off. A modified-schedule school would be very attractive.
ETA: oops, I didn't really ask a question. Is anyone here familiar with modified-school schedules that don't necessarily follow the agrarian-calendar?