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Journalist shares school calendar research begun a decade ago

Information gathered during a 10-year investigation
is now on a Web site that focuses on school calendars

The SummerMatters!!  Web site was launched in  June 2001, the official date June 21, the first day of summer.

Information on this site is based on  research compiled by Billee Bussard, a veteran journalist who began investigating school calendar issues in 1992 as an editorial writer for The Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville. She is co-author with Suzanne McCrary of "Year-Round Education: Lessons Learned the Hard Way."  (See order information below.) 

A veteran journalist with 22 years in the newspaper business, Bussard is now a  full-time researcher on school calendar reforms.  Since 1992, when she began writing on the year-round calendar,  Bussard has shared information with parents and school systems in hundreds of communities around the nation. (Photo of Bussard with research, below.) 

The  SummerMatters!!  information network compiles school calendar-related information from recent research, media accounts and information provided by  grassroots organizations. As often as possible, this information is provided in  simple  formats and easy-to-use talking points papers intended to help  those  fighting  school calendar proposals that shrink school summer vacation time. Many of the SummerMatters!!  Web pages have been designed for easy  incorporation into research reports. 

SummerMatters!!  is a product of REB Communications and Publishing Inc., which was established  by Richard E. Bussard and Billee Bussard in 1999, after Richard Bussard retired as director of corporate communications for a Fortune 500 company. While he was city editor and managing editor of a Jacksonville newspaper, his staff won many prizes for investigative reporting, including the Neiman Fellowship and a Pulitzer Prize for photography.  He now specializes in book editing, writing and publishing for individuals and corporations. Billee Bussard's many years in the newspaper business included stints as a reporter, features editor, business writer, editorial writer and op-ed page editor. She won awards for writing and editing, and received special recognition for a series of stories that led to the formation of a consumer affairs office in Jacksonville, Florida.  A year before launching the SummerMatters!!  website, Billee Bussard worked one year as executive director of Time To Learn, an organization with a modest budget  that received funding from a diverse group  opposed to school calendar change.

The SummerMatters!!  website is provided as a public service, and receives no support or funding from special interests or individuals. (This statement is provided  in response to recent bogus claims  that Florida tourism and amusement parks finance Bussard's on-going research.) 
  "Year-Round Education: Lessons Learned the Hard Way," 
is a 100-page book that was written and designed to give the reader a quick overview of the year-round education concept, its pitfalls and the bogus claims of cost savings and academic benefits made by the marketers and promoters of the year-round school calendar.  

The year-round calendar is also marketed under many other labels including: year-round school, continuous learning calendar, the balanced calendar, the modified calendar,  modified school year and the extended school year. Proponents define  year-round education as any school calendar with a summer break of eight weeks or less.

The need for such a reference guide became clear to the authors when Florida school districts used skewed surveys, flawed studies and advocacy research to convince communities to abandon the traditional school year. The book costs $25, which includes shipping. (Use order form below.) 25 copies of the pamphlet: Myth and Reality of School Calendar Change will be included with this book at no charge while supplies last.

Those who need  immediate assistance or help on school calendar issues, can contact Billee Bussard  at (904) 249-2468 or send an e-mail message to: bussardre@aol.com.

Ordering form:

The Book
Year-Round Education:
Lessons Learned the Hard Way

Please send _____ copies@ $25 per copy includes shipping costs  
                                                                                                           total $_____
Please send _____ additional copies of the pamphlet
Myth and Reality of School Calendar Change at 23 cents ea.
(25 pamphlets are included with the book at no charge.)
                                                                       total $_____


School Title____________________________________________


City ________________________________  State ___________

Phone (daytime) _________________ (evening) _____________

E-Mail _______________________ 

Make check(s) payable to:
Billee Bussard
16 Hopson Road
Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250

Phone (904) 249-2468;  E-mail - bussardre@aol.com