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Back to school coming earlier for students at Westwood Community School District

Dearborn Heights, - Students at the Westwood Community School District will be joining a growing number of students across the state by starting the 2019-20 school year before Labor Day.

Robichaud High School, Westwood North Academy, Westwood Virtual Academy, Tomlinson Middle School, Thorne Elementary School, and Daly Elementary School will each begin the new school year on Monday, Aug. 26.

According to Superintendent Dr. Stiles Simmons, the earlier starting date is designed to reduce the effects of summer learning loss. "Decades of research has shown that students, especially students from low-income families, tend to lose a month to two months of academic knowledge and skills over the two-month summer break," said Dr. Simmons. "Studies have shown the loss is greater in math computation as compared to reading. To address this problem, short of adopting a balanced calendar, we have moved the start of the school year as close as possible to the end of summer school and other summer programs. This way, students have less time to lose the information learned over the duration of the summer school program and the previous school year."

Neighboring Dearborn Public Schools will begin its school year a day later on Tuesday, August 27.

Both school districts are using waivers from the Michigan Department of Education to bypass a 2005 Michigan law passed that mandates the first day of school not be held until after Labor Day. Approximately 150 other school districts and charter schools are using waivers to begin this school year earlier, up from 123 waivers this past school year.

Dr. Simmons sees other benefits to beginning the school year earlier, including having students return to a more structured and safe environment.

"Unfortunately, too many of our students are left unsupervised during the

summermonths because their parents may work two or three jobs to make ends meet and they may not have the resources to place their children into safe and enriching learning opportunities," said Dr. Simmons.

Dr. Simmons also pointed to the importance of the District providing health

care, mental health support, and healthy meals when school is in session.

"Too many of our students lack access to adequate health care and mental health support during the summer break. We provide such services when school is in session and students have immediate access to those services," he stated. "And too many of our students are not provided healthy meals during the summer break or any break. We provide students with breakfast, lunch, and snack/supper."

District parents and community members should go to the District's website,, or the District's Facebook page,, for additional information.

"We love our scholars and we want to have them back as soon as possible so that we can help stimulate and nurture their intellectual, creative, and athletic abilities," said Dr. Simmons.

Westwood Community School District serves Dearborn Heights, Dearborn, and Inkster, and includes Robichaud High School, Westwood North Academy, Westwood Virtual Academy, Tomlinson Middle School, Thorne Elementary School, and Daly Elementary School.

Dr. Stiles Simmons

Superintendent, Westwood Community School District

Address: 3335 South Beech Daly Road, Dearborn Heights, Michigan 48125

Phone: (313) 565-3864

Email: [email protected]


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