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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -
Nashville's new school calendar might be changing again, and this time, kids could be in class even more.
The intersession program in Metro Nashville Public Schools has been around for only a year, but the director of schools says a different approach is needed.
The current school calendar includes 175 school days, with two week-long breaks that include time for voluntary intersessions to get in more learning time.
Now, district leaders are considering three options for the 2014-2015 school calendar. One would keep things the way they are, another would get rid of the voluntary intersessions and the third plan would add extra days.
The third option is the one school leaders want, but it won't be cheap.
"The longer school year in my opinion is the ideal," said MNPS Director Dr. Jesse Register.
Register is advocating adding nine extra days to school year. Four of those days would be used for more professional development for teachers, and students would be in the classroom for an extra five days.
"It's not automatic, but I think it's certainly a factor that can make a difference if we use it well," Register said.
The district had hoped many kids would take part in the voluntary intersessions during fall and spring breaks to get in more learning time, but only 7,500 kids showed up, which Register attributes to federal funding cuts and transportation issues.
His idea is to get all kids back in the classroom, but that plan would cost the district $18 million.
"If it's important for us to increase learning time for students and quality instruction time, then I think it's an expenditure well worth considering," Register said.
Parents have mixed opinions, with some thinking the added days of instruction are needed to raise test scores.
"Five more days, I don't know how much that would help, but it sounds good to me," said parent Monique Dotson.
Other parents say the kids need a break.
"When they get out for summer vacation, they really don't have that much time until they go back to school," said parent Janice Crowder.
The school board will have to approve one of the three calendar options, and the board members could vote on it at their August meeting.
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