DETROIT (WWJ) – While other kids are in the pool — many Detroit students are still in class.

An extended school year for Education Achievement Authority students means they don’t get summer break until August; and even then it’s only for three weeks.

Some may be surprised, though, by the attitude that many engaged and smiling youngsters talking to WWJ’s Vickie Thomas at Burns Elementary-Middle School have about it.

Eighth graders Jada Strickland and Darius Hopkins say they don’t mind a bit.

“We’re in school all year-long; we get to learn more than them (student on summer vacation),” Jada said. “And while they’re out just having fun, we’re in here learning and getting prepared for high school.”

Added Darius,”Summer break is for, technically, the kids that wanna go out in play; while I’ll get more chances to learn more, so that it can prepare me for the next level.”

Their classmate, Akasia Smith, echoed that sentiment.

“You go out on summer break and you forget; and when you go back to school in September you forgot half what you learned when you were in school,” she said. “I’m in school and I’m still learning and getting ready for high school.”

How do Detroit parent Corey Robertson’s four kids feel about the extended school year?

“They love it; they love it,” Robertson said. “I was like, y’all wanna go to school? They wake me up half the time!”

Burns Elementary-Middle School Principal Dwane Richardson said his staff is also on board.

“As you can see, we have a very clean building. The teachers are excited to be here; they’re happy to be here,” he said. “We are in our two-hundredth day, and the teachers are still excited about educating our students.”

The Education Achievement Authority of Michigan is a fairly new statewide school system that has assumed operation of the lowest 5 percent of performing schools in the state that did not achieve satisfactory results on a redesign plan or that are under an emergency manager.

The EAA is in its second year of operating 15 schools in Detroit, nine elementary/middles schools – three are charters and six high schools. EAA students attend school for 210 days a year, 40 more days than other Michigan students attend traditional public schools.


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