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The Marion School District will utilize its innovative “hybrid” academic calendar for the third consecutive year in 2023-24, following approval of the plan by the district’s school board at their November meeting.

The hybrid calendar spreads out the school year, trimming time from summer vacation and adding two-week rejuvenation breaks after each nine weeks. Students and teachers still have a seven-week summer break, but they also get two-week breaks in the fall, winter, and spring. The number of days of instruction remains unchanged at 178.

The district implemented the hybrid calendar for the first time for the 2021-22 school year. The move has proved popular for staff and families alike.

“The response we’ve gotten to our hybrid calendar over the past two years has been incredibly positive,” said Hugh Inman, deputy superintendent for the Marion School District. “Our students get a head start on almost every other district in the state. Our teachers and families love having time off for travel and relaxation during the Fall Break. I know many others are looking forward to the extended Spring Break in March. It’s a win-win for everyone involved. It benefits our students’ academic progress, it helps our teachers stay refreshed and effective, and it provides good downtimes for our maintenance team to make sure our facilities remain in top shape.”

The idea behind the hybrid calendar is to ease what educators call the “summer slide.” According to research, students often lose up to 40 percent of what they have learned during the previous year during extended summer breaks. That number can be reduced by as much as 22 percent when students are not exposed to a long summer vacation.

The breaks after each nine weeks, meanwhile, allow students to absorb what they have learned and take time to rest and renew. For teachers, it’s a chance to evaluate their students’ greatest needs for the next nine weeks. With hybrid school calendars, discipline issues tend to decline, graduation rates rise, and greater academic growth is experienced.

Since Marion adopted the Hybrid Calendar for the 2021-22 school year, several other districts across the state have adopted the same model, including Wynne, Osceola, and Marked Tree. Many other school districts, including Rogers and Hot Springs, are looking closely at making the change over the next several years. Inman said he regularly takes phone calls from administrators at other school districts in Arkansas who want to learn more about Marion’s success with the hybrid calendar.

“In the coming years, I expect we will see several other districts in the state follow our lead in making this change,” Inman said. “Not only has the hybrid calendar proved to be a popular choice among our families, but we are confident that it will result in improved educational outcomes as well,”

Under the hybrid calendar, which can be found here, the first day of the 2023-24 school year for Marion students will be Thursday, July 27, 2023. Other key dates for students are as follows:

  • Fall Break: October 2-13
  • Thanksgiving Holiday: November 20-24
  • Winter Break: December 20-January 3
  • Spring Break: March 18-29
  • MHS Graduation: Thursday, May 23, 2024