- The Pros & Cons of Year-Round School
- Should We Consider Year-Round School in the U.S.?
- Benefits of Year-Round School in the U.S.
- Challenges in Year-Round Schooling
- Do Any Other Countries Have Year-Round Schooling?
- Top 10 Reasons Why Year Round School Is A Good Idea
- The Top 10 Reasons Why Year Round School Is A Good Idea
- 10) It’s easier to schedule vacations
- 9) It has the potential to solve overcrowding
- 8) Year round schooling benefits from low-income families
- 7) Breaks would be more frequent
- 6) Teachers will earn more money
- 5) The current system was designed for a different America in a different century
- 4) It will increase respect for teachers
- 3) Teachers are no longer constrained by time
- 2) Students will be able to advance more quickly
- 1) It cuts down on brain drain
- List of the Pros of Year-Round School
- List of the Cons of Year-Round School
- The Advantages and Disadvantages of Year Round School
- The Advantages of Year Round Schooling
- Problems with Year Round Schooling
- The pros and cons of year-round school
- What is year-round school?
- The pros of year-round school
- The cons of year-round school
- Is year-round school right for your family?
- Liked this? Then you’ll love…
- Year-round school is booming — but its benefits are over-hyped
- What people get wrong about year-round school
- Too many kids, too little time
- How to solve the right problems
The Pros & Cons of Year-Round School
Year-round school provides a more structured environment, one of consistency and positivity, for students with unsupportive or unstable homes. The safety and dependability that school offers doesn’t stop with the onset of summer.
When schools close for the summer, achievement gaps increase and students experience a decline in academic skills and social-emotional health. Even the most prepared parent will find it hard to combat this summer slide. Low-income students are especially prone to these negative effects. Year-round school takes away the threat posed by the summer slide.
- Summer slide is also the reason why teachers spend the first month of school reviewing what was previously taught. Less instructional time is spent on review in year-round schools.
- Teaching at a year-round school means receiving a year-round salary. This is a pro that any teacher can get behind.
Summer vacation provides a much-needed break for teachers and students who need time to refresh rejuvenate after working hard for nine straight months.
Spending time at the beginning of a school year explaining classroom routines and expectations can feel like a waste of instructional time. However, it gives students a chance to practice important soft skills like adapting to new procedures, handling different work styles, and learning new schedules.
With most schools on a nine-month schedule, extracurricular activities have learned to plan their programs accordingly. Therefore, students at a year-round school may not have availability to experience certain outside activities like summer sports teams or camps.
It costs more to run a school year-round. Along with paying staff, the school building itself will require more funds for heating and cooling to keep the school running comfortably.
It’s tough to say definitively which school structure provides the most optimal learning environment, but it’s eye-opening to consider those we may not be familiar with in our quest to be the best educators we can be.
With nine different start dates every year, it’s never a bad time to start at American College of Education. Explore all our graduate-level programs in the field of education.
The very thought of sending kids to school year-round makes some parents cringe. They balk at the idea of kids attending schools with no summer break. They question the value of a continuous school year interspersed with several short breaks. While the schedule is definitely not what the majority of adults grew up with, it’s not nearly as onerous as some people think. Rather than giving kids less time off, a year-round schedule offers the same 180 days of schooling as the traditional calendar, created long ago to ensure children were home to help their parents harvest crops.
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What Exactly Is Year-Round Schooling?
Kids in year-round schools attend classes for anywhere from six to nine weeks in a row, broken up by two- to four-week vacations. That, say some educators, keeps the learning process ongoing with minimal disruption. A Duke University study even suggested kids attending year-round schools are at a slight advantage, because they don’t forget what they learned during the long summer break.
Schools in fast-growing areas transition to year-round schedules as a way to ease overcrowding. When that occurs, kids are placed on multi-tracks, and alternate tracking in and out of the school, a process that keeps the buildings in constant use.
The Multi-Schedule Juggle
Frequent breaks are a mainstay of year-round schooling, but they aren’t for everyone. Patricia McCracken, who grew up attending a year-round school in Virginia Beach, Virginia, says she found the two-week breaks, which occurred every six weeks at her school, to be disruptive. “It was really hard to get involved in the work because as soon as you geared up, you had to gear back down again.”
Mary Brown, a middle-school teacher in Wake County (where three-week breaks occur every nine weeks), says she doesn’t see that as a problem at her school. “Our schedule offers the kids a break from school right when they need it,” she says. Earlier this year, after their first three-week break, she says, the kids seemed refreshed. “They didn’t have the bored, glazed-over look of kids who had been in school for weeks on end with no break in sight.”
Juggling different school schedules is one of the toughest problems parents of children in both year-round and traditional schools face. Many high schools don’t employ a year-round calendar because of sports schedules. And teens want to be able to take summer jobs.
The year-round schedule can make finding appropriate childcare a problem too. Because her mom was a teacher in a traditional school, McCracken says, “It meant my sister and I were basically latchkey kids for two or three years because it was impossible to find a babysitter for two weeks every six weeks.” As year-round schooling becomes more common, however, communities are meeting the demand by offering track-out programs for kids who aren’t in school.
Should We Consider Year-Round School in the U.S.?
Mention year-round school and you are likely to get groans from kids and teachers or jokes from parents about being happy to save money on summer camp. But people continue to discuss the year-round school debate because people feel strongly about improving education. In year-round schools, kids attend classes for six to nine weeks at a time, with two- to four-week breaks.
The big question educators and parents are asking is whether year-round schooling improves literacy development. While there’s conflicting information about how year-round schooling affects all students, proponents highlight the benefits for low-income student: They tend to do better in year-round schools.
A 2014 congressional report explains, “There are two types of year-round schools — single-track and multi-track schools. Single-track schools (are) aimed at curbing summer learning loss and providing blocks of time that can be used for remediation or enrichment activities. … Multi-track schools (are) designed to expand capacity without having to build a new school or install portable classrooms.”
Benefits of Year-Round School in the U.S.
For low-income students who regularly lose much of their literacy development during the three months of summer, year-round schooling can be quite beneficial. When teachers are required to be on campus year-round, struggling students (who lose about 27 percent of learning gains over the summer) have access to regular tutoring and support they otherwise would not have in the summer months. Shorter breaks between school terms mean that students are able to avoid gaps in learning. Proponents of year-round schooling mention other benefits:
- Saving money on school facilities and staff resources.
- Reducing class sizes and overcrowding in classrooms.
- Alleviating the need for new school construction.
- Preventing student and teacher burnout.
- Decreasing teacher and student absences.
- Increasing opportunities for extra help and studying.
Challenges in Year-Round Schooling
The traditional schooling calendar was created to allow children to harvest crops with their families when the U.S. was more of an agricultural society. Few children need this anymore regardless of rural, suburban or urban settings. Fueling much of the year-round school debate is the feeling that frequent breaks sandwiched between six to eight weeks of schooling create a stop-and-start routine that slows progress. Research has not been able to prove that children in year-round schools experience significant improvements in literacy development. Parents complain that short two-week vacations make it difficult to find childcare. The disruption to people’s current nine-month schooling plans seems obvious. Few people like this kind of change unless it results in unprecedented success rates, which the year-round school debate has yet to uncover.
Do Any Other Countries Have Year-Round Schooling?
Several countries have academic years that go year-round. Japan’s school year runs April through March. Japan is on a trimester system, with breaks between each trimester. Australia’s school year begins in late January and ends in mid-December. One of the main topics in the year-round school debate is how much time kids from other nations spend in school versus students in the U.S.
Many education analysts and politicians argue that kids in India and China spend 25 percent to 30 percent more time in school. Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan published a report that found that U.S. students spend the same amount of time in school as those in India and China. According to this U.S. education report, “China and India are important comparisons, but other countries could provide even greater insight into whether U.S. students are spending as much time in school, particularly countries that typically score high on international assessments, such as Korea, Japan, Finland and Canada, as well as economic competitors such as England, France, Germany and Italy.” The results of this comparison showed that by the eighth grade, students in the U.S. spent more time in school than any of these countries. Ultimately, time in school and year-round schooling did not seem to affect the majority of students as much as previously thought.
Regardless of which side of the year-round school debate a teacher sits on, the fact that students lose a lot of ground in the summer (often called summer slide) is still an issue in the U.S.
Literacy development is more successful when students are engaged in daily literacy and meaning-making activities around print. It makes sense to pay close attention to studies that show what factors improve literacy development so that educators can help students be as successful as possible.
Learn more about the UTA online M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction — Literacy Studies program.
Education Week: Year-Round Schooling Explained
Scholastic: The Pros and Cons of Year-Round Schools
Education Week: Should the U.S. Switch to Year-Round Schooling?
Education Week: Year-Round Schools Get Fresh Look in Congressional Report
Pew Research Center: School days: How the U.S. compares with other countries
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Top 10 Reasons Why Year Round School Is A Good Idea
For a kid, there is nothing better than summer break. No pencils, no books, no more teachers with dirty looks; for a kid, an endless summer would be the best thing in the world. Unfortunately for all the giddy children, summertime needs to come to an end. Right now America’s education system is on the ropes, and one of the ways Americans can help fix its education system is to implement year-round education.
Photo Credit: Sodahead.com
The Top 10 Reasons Why Year Round School Is A Good Idea
10) It’s easier to schedule vacations
The three-month summer vacation block may sound great for planning vacations, but in reality, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. By having one large vacation block, parents have to compete in the workplace to get the appropriate time off and travel is more expensive because everyone else is traveling. Year round schooling offers more breaks and more opportunities for everyone to take a well-deserved vacation
9) It has the potential to solve overcrowding
Some schools with year-round schooling utilize something called the “multi-track” system. Essentially, the school is divided into four or five different “tracks.” Vacations are staggered between the tracks in such as way so that while three out four tracks are currently in school, the other track is on vacation. When one track returns, another track goes on vacation. By staggering vacations, overcrowded schools can alleviate some of the stress of having too many students.
To accommodate the flux in student enrollment throughout the year, some schools have created more flexible space within their facility. School architects have discovered using portable room dividers allows school districts to quickly change the look and use of any given space at any time. One company, Screenflex Portable Partitions, even offers clear room dividers to designate a separate space but also allows light and vision into the area. Students have found these clear dividers useful to use as dry erase boards during group discussions and team learning.
8) Year round schooling benefits from low-income families
Studies have shown the children from low-income families stand to benefit the most from year round schooling. Part of it has to do with the fact that shorter breaks help the children retain the information better, and part of it is that it helps keep the impoverished children out of trouble.
While wealthier parents can afford summer camps and babysitters; many low-income parents have to leave their child home alone unattended while they go to work. Year round schooling keeps children in the books and off the streets.
7) Breaks would be more frequent
Currently, schools that are on the summer vacation model, usually have two breaks, summer vacation, and a handful of holidays. Although cumulatively there would fewer days off, the frequency of school breaks would be much higher. While year round schooling systems vary, typically schools usually take a two-week break quarter semester. Frequent breaks are good for both student and teachers as they help keep both from burning out early in the year.
6) Teachers will earn more money
During the summer, many teachers have to take on second jobs to supplement their loss of income. This forces many to take lower paying jobs because there are very few education jobs during the summer.
This leads to embarrassing and degrading moments for teachers when inevitably they have to wait on one of their students or their parents. If schools were open year round, not only would teachers not have to work a second job, but they also see an increase in their yearly income.
5) The current system was designed for a different America in a different century
A hundred years ago; most Americans still worked some form of agricultural jobs. Aside from high infant mortality rates, most people had a lot of children because they required help on their farms.
Children would wake up before the sun, help with the crops, and go to school.
Summer breaks were not designed for family fun and vacations; they were designed to allow children to help their parents with crops during a critical time in the agricultural season.
4) It will increase respect for teachers
There is an old and vile adage that says “Those that can, do. Those that can’t, teach.” It’s a hateful phrase that reveals our culture’s underlying disrespect for teachers. Many see educators as lazy people who get frequent breaks and have little responsibility. Year round schooling offers to change that perception of teachers. If people see teachers going to work every day like they do; people will stop thinking of them like part-time babysitters and instead think of teachers like full-time professionals.
3) Teachers are no longer constrained by time
Photo Credit: ASU News
When you were going through school; did any of your classes finish the textbook? I know mine didn’t. Those three months students take for summer break severely shortens the time a teacher has with their students. By switching to a year-round schedule, teachers will have much more time to go over lessons and help students. Critical lessons will no longer be shortened to fit the calendar.
2) Students will be able to advance more quickly
A by-product of the summer break is the dividing of classes based on age. If schooling was year round, there would be less distinction between year X and year Y. Instead of waiting for the next school year to start, more advanced children would be able to just go to the next level.
Also, the constant learning environment takes away the emphasis of when the student started school and instead emphasizes skill and aptitude.
1) It cuts down on brain drain
Summers are not all they’re cracked up to be. While kids love summers, their brains do not. By going three months without using critical thinking, children are losing a good bit of what they have learned each year. At the end of the long break, teachers are finding themselves having to take extra time out of their day to re-teach their students the things they already learned the previous year.
Three months might not sound very long, but for a child, it can seem like a lifetime. It’s all about scale. Think of it like this: Three months in the life of a ten-year-old makes up 2.5 percent of their life. For a thirty-year-old adult, 2.5 percent of their life is nine months. Could you just take off from work for nine months, never use your work skill in that time, and expect to work as well as you did beforehand?
According to the National Association for Year-Round Education, the trend for year-round schools is growing. Do you think that having year-round schooling would be beneficial for students and the education system in general? Or is it simply too much? Is year-round school too much of a strain on the cost and maintenance of the building? Do schools need to look at creating a more flexible space by using room dividers to accommodate the change in use of the facility throughout an entire year?
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The traditional school year, with roughly three months of vacation days every summer, was first implemented when America was an agricultural society. Learning to read, write, and perform basic arithmetic in classrooms was simply not as important as keeping up family farms and building the nation. The summer months were needed exclusively for farm work.
Since then, we have completely changed as a nation—today, the majority of U.S. K-12 students aren’t spending summers off tilling fields or harvesting crops. However, the idea of summers off from school is alive and well. The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research finds that the average American student receives 13 weeks off of school each calendar year – with 10 or 11 of those coming consecutively during the summer. Barely any other countries have more than seven weeks off in a school calendar. Only around 10 percent of U.S. schools currently use a year-round school calendar with shorter breaks inserted throughout the year.
With the US lagging behind countries such as Korea in terms of academic performance, it may be time to consider drastic changes to our public school system. Year-round schooling might just be a solution—and surprisingly, it could even be one that students will enjoy. Here’s why:
- Students will actually remember what they learn.
Year-round schooling means that students do not fall victim to the “summer slide,” or the well-documented phenomenon where students unlearn some of the knowledge they worked so hard to attain when too much consecutive time is taken off from school.
A study released in 2007 by The Ohio State University found that there are really no differences in learning between students who attend school year round and those who are on a traditional schedule. However, the National Summer Learning Association often cites decades of research that shows that it can take anywhere from 8 to 13 weeks at the beginning of every school year for teachers to get their students back up to speed and ready to learn the new grade’s material.
Either way, when it comes to learning and retention, students who attend year-round schools have nothing to lose and much to gain.
- It’s an easy way to bridge the achievement gap.
Minority students, students who speak English as a second language, economically disadvantaged students, and students with disabilities are the most affected by the summer fallback. Studies have found that disadvantaged students lose about 27 percent more of their learning gains in the summer months than their peers.
If that is not enough to affirm the need for year-round schooling for minorities, researcher Daniel O’Brien concluded that minority students progress their learning proficiency the fastest during the school year when compared to white and economically advantaged students.
Furthermore, Anna Habash of Education Trust, a nonprofit that works with schools to better serve their student populations, says that for minorities, a year-round school schedule does more than help academically. In an interview with Education News, Habash said that schools with high numbers of poverty and minority students benefit greatly from year-round schooling because it keep students “on task” and leads to more “meaningful instruction” when there are not a lot of academically sound options at home.
Minorities also drop out of high school at rates that are higher than their white counterparts. According to Jessica Washington of Politic365, the solution is year-round schooling. She reports that the national dropout rate is 5 percent, while the dropout rate for year-round school students is just 2 percent. These dropout statistics are not broken down by racial or socioeconomic backgrounds, but if the overall dropout rate is lower for year-round schools, it is likely that the minority dropout rates in this model are also lower. The reasons why dropout rates are lower in year-round setups are easy to deduce: students have less time to adjust to time off from school, and in the case of high schoolers, they have less time to work.
While this inability for teenagers to work and make money in the summer has been cited as a pitfall of year-round schooling, the disadvantages of this are short-lived. High school graduates earn $11,000 more per year than those with a G.E.D. or less, and that number rises to $36,000 more with a bachelor’s degree. Giving up a few summers of minimum wage work in exchange for the higher lifetime earnings a high school diploma affords is a small price to pay.
- Students will actually like school.
Students will do more than just learn better in a year-round school.
Teachers and students experience a closer relationship in year-round schools than they do in traditional, shorter-calendar-year schools. In the absence of any long-term break from school, students do not feel detached from the school environment.
The experience of immersion in learning offered by year-round schools, with more time spent in classrooms, proves to be beneficial to many students from low socioeconomic backgrounds in particular, including those for whom English is a second language. Many second language learners who have difficulty mastering English benefit from the opportunity to immerse themselves in English during intersession classes. They also develop better relationships with other students.
Results from research studies show that students in year-round schools are more self-confident, have a higher self-concept, have fewer inhibitions, and feel positive about their schooling experience.
But what about down time? Don’t children need time to just “be kids”?
Some childhood development experts believe that for younger students, time off in the summer months is vital to healthy development. They believe that kids are not designed to spend so much of their time inside classroom walls and that the warmer, pleasant weather of the summer provides a perfect opportunity to get outside and experience childhood. The problem with this argument, of course, is that most children are no longer spending their summers frolicking in fields of flowers or running around their neighborhoods, hanging out with other kids.
A recent Harvard University study found that school-age children tend to gain weight at a faster pace during the summer months than during the school year. Children today spend more time in sedentary activities like watching television or using mobile devices instead of playing outside or participating in active pursuits. Not only must K-12 students relearn the academic items, but they must also shift their mentalities from less-active, sedentary ones to sharp, alert learning models.
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry reports that by the time children graduate from high school, they will have spent more time watching television than in classrooms. What’s more – children who watch an excessive amount of television generally have lower grades in school, read fewer books and have more health problems. While some children visit summer camps, or attend child care when school is out, others stay at home, inside, with not much else to do than watch TV or play games on electronic devices. This is especially true for kids who are middle-school age or higher and are able to stay home alone when parents work. The “down time” of the summer months is really just empty time, often void of anything academically or developmentally advantageous.
As the US establishes itself as a knowledge and innovation-based economy, the usefulness of a traditional school year diminishes. There are many reasons changing from our traditional school year to year-round schooling makes sense. As with any adjustments, making the switch would not be easy. However, with all its advantages, it is certainly worth considering.
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School’s out for summer. The immortal words of Alice Cooper bring a smile to every child’s face. And that final day of school that ushers in the long summer break is one that is looked forward to with great anticipation.
But is a lengthy summer break good for educational purposes?
The question of year-round school is a hot topic, and each side has its merits. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of year-round schooling.
Pros of Year-Round Schooling
It Keeps Students Brains Charged
With summer break lasting as long as 10 weeks, it seems natural that students would slip out of “learning mode.”
Dr. Marquita S. Blades is an education consultant and speaker who worked as a science teacher for 16 years. One of those years was at an all-girls middle school that operated on a modified schedule which included a minimal summer break. “Compared to other beginnings, it took the students less time to adjust to the routines and culture. They were ready to jump in much quicker,” says Dr. Blades.
“For those students who do not have the means to engage in education rich experiences , they lose the gains they made and start the school year at a lower level than where they ended the previous school year,” says Dr. Katie Davis. Dr. Davis is an educational psychologist, clinician, and neuroscience researcher in private practice and on the faculty at Johns Hopkins.
It enhances continuity and pacing of instruction
The end of one school year and the beginning of a new one means dramatic changes, and getting used to new routines and structures. As noted above, this can be time-consuming, which means less time for instruction. Dr. Davis says these transitions are particularly challenging for kids with special needs. “They lose on both ends preparing for and adjusting to the change in schedule.”
Sheri Saurer is a speech language pathologist and behavior analyst who trains educators around Pennsylvania to provide services utilizing applied behavioral analysis. She says: “Teachers may find it difficult to get through the entire curriculum. When the new year begins, time is spent reviewing and re-teaching concepts and material from the previous year.” Such a scenario can delay or even impede progress.
According to Dr. Blades, year-round schooling would impact pacing. “It provides more balanced planning of instruction. However, the kids move at the pace they move. Their growth is subjective to where they started out. Regardless.”
Multiple intersessions provide time to accommodate enrichment and/or remedial instruction
More intersessions (or times when school is in session) could be used as a time for students to make up work or relearn skills. While Dr. Blades believes intersessions would be a good time for remedial instruction, she has never seen them used this way. Instead, the year-round schedule has been seen as a means to being able to cover more material.
Instead, intersessions would seem to be an ideal time for students to focus on things other than academics. Dr. Davis says, “Intersession would be a time where students can learn those things outside of the core subjects that have been cut from the core curriculum.”
With the multiple intersessions providing more short breaks (as compared to the long summer break), there’s a better chance students will remain in ‘learning’ mode. Therefore, it’s an excellent opportunity to utilize this time for something productive such as enrichment or remedial instruction.
Cons of Year-Round Schooling
Students can’t take on summer camps or temporary jobs, which can be valuable learning experiences
Many people remember their first job with fondness. Even if the work wasn’t necessarily enjoyable, the newfound sense of responsibility made an impact. Critics of year-round schooling often point to summer jobs and other summer experiences as valuable in their own right.
While summer jobs can offer valuable experiences, for some students and families, the money is essential for college and other expenses. Dr. Davis says, “For some kids, employment is a financial imperative rather than an option.”
However, teens can get jobs during the school year and on weekends. “There’s a way it can be done if they want to,” says Dr. Blades. Still, that’s not a great option for students who want to focus on studying and minimize distractions during the school year.
Summer camps and other similar entities can also be education rich experiences. Of course, that requires means to pay for that type of enrichment. “One of the biggest reasons for education iniquities is what happens in the summer. Those without resources to do things in summer find their disadvantages are compounded because of it,” says Dr. Davis.
Still, for those who can partake, Ms. Saurer believes operators of the camps would make do, “I think that those who offer summer camp would offer something else during those brief breaks. The market would adjust.”
Extracurricular scheduling conflicts
For many students, extracurricular activities are a highlight of their school years. Whether it’s as a member of an athletic team, drama club, musical ensemble, debate team, etc., extracurricular activities offer students ways to explore and develop interests. Participation in extracurricular activities is undoubtedly a valuable experience.
For year-round schooling to be compatible with extracurricular activities, all area and even state schools would have to be on the same schedule. “If competing regionally and statewide, those who don’t share breaks will face scheduling conflicts,” says Dr. Blades. “Scheduling problems will come up for extracurricular activities, and it will impact the community.”
Inconclusive academic benefits
The most obvious reason to have year-round schooling is for the academic benefits. However, research about the academic impact of year-round schooling has not clearly shown it is beneficial. One challenge in proving that year-round schooling is beneficial is that there are numerous factors that impact academic performance, which makes isolating the effects of this one aspect difficult.
While Dr. Davis agrees the academic benefits have not been clearly proven, she believes the answer is clear. “As America falls behind in terms of being educationally competitive, countries in Asia and Scandinavia that have longer school years are moving forward. Competitiveness does correlate with the number of school days.”
Adjusting the school year so that there are shorter breaks but no extra schooling would offer benefits, particularly for those students who are special needs and or financially challenged, but it would also bring unique challenges that might even affect life outside of school. What might Alice Cooper have to say about that?
Instead of taking a full Summer vacation, a year-round school provides learning opportunities throughout the entire year. The school continues to operate on a 180-day learning schedule, which is mandatory in the United States. It simply takes shorter breaks between each term.
In the standard year-round format, students attend school for 45 days. Then they receive 15 days off. That’s the equivalent of attending school for 9 weeks, then taking three weeks off.
It is a change from the traditional idea of having a Summer break. There are questions about the value of having a continuous schedule instead of one with a longer break. Here are the pros and cons of year-round school to consider.
List of the Pros of Year-Round School
1. It can ease overcrowding issues in some school districts.
One of the unique aspects of the year-round schedule is that it can provide three different tracks for students to follow. That means there are only two tracks attending school at any given time during the year. The year-round schedule, when employed on a 9/3 track, makes it possible to reduce school population sizes by 33% automatically. That allows the buildings to be in constant use while keeping classroom sizes low, which increases student learning opportunities.
2. It keeps the learning process ongoing.
During the traditional Summer vacation, students can lose much of the information they learned from the previous grade. Year-round learning changes this dynamic. The students stay engaged with the learning process throughout the year, which reduces information loss. Even though the students at a year-round school attend the same days, they are at a slight advantage because the shorter breaks help them keep more of what they learned.
3. It eliminates the boredom of an extended break from school.
Although the prospect of a long Summer vacation seems inviting, for many students, the reality of Summer is that it becomes very boring. Even families who have their students engaged in multiple activities can struggle to keep their children fully engaged during a break that can last as long as 12 weeks. By creating shorter breaks throughout the year, the opportunities for boredom decrease, which means there are fewer chances to get into trouble.
4. It reduces the need for remediation classes.
Remediation is the process of re-learning what was already learned. Under the traditional school structure, the first 2-3 weeks of a new school year require remediation because of the extended Summer holiday. Under the format of a year-round schedule, the needs for student remediation can be addressed throughout the entire year, which makes the learning process more effective for students.
5. It reduces the need to have a Summer school.
Many schools are already struggling with their budgets. Under the traditional schedule, a Summer school is often necessary to reduce remediation rates in high-risk students. Summer programs are implemented to keep students engaged with core educational elements. These all come at a cost. By keeping the school open year-round instead, the benefits of ongoing education are received without the added costs.
6. It gives families more options for vacation scheduling.
Because there are extended breaks offered throughout the year, families in a year-round district have more opportunities to schedule a long vacation. They are no longer confined to the 12-week window of Summer or the 2 weeks offered at Christmas. Although this benefit may not apply to every family, it does offer options for some. Traveling during off-season days is also cheaper at most locations, which allows families to have the same amount of fun for less of a cost.
7. It is a proven format for schooling.
Many countries around the world already employ the year-round schedule successfully. The traditional American Summer vacation is actually a global outlier. The data from other districts around the world show that there are numerous learning benefits which come from staying in school with shorter breaks throughout the year.
List of the Cons of Year-Round School
1. It can make it difficult for students to get involved with their work.
When you’re in school for only 9 weeks at a time, you’re just getting geared up to begin the learning process when you’re released from school for an extended break again. For students who struggle to focus already, the frequent process of gearing up and winding down throughout the year can make it more difficult for them to stay involved with their work. It ends up creating more disruptions instead of preventing them.
2. It changes the family schedule.
Instead of dealing with Summer supervision issues, working parents in a year-round school must deal with finding daycare for their children at periodic points throughout the year instead. It can be so difficult to juggle work and school with this type of schedule that two-parent households may have one parent stay at home to help manage it. Even if that is not necessary, the traditional summer vacation and other planned holidays require changes to fit with the calendar demands of the school.
3. It doesn’t provide year-round activities.
Just because the school is going year-round doesn’t mean the district is providing activities for the students throughout the year. Most high schools do not provide competitive sports throughout the year. Teens want to be able to find a job, especially during the Summer months, to save up some cash or buy things they want. That process goes away if the school is wanting compliance with a year-round schedule.
4. It reduces building maintenance opportunities.
Schools need to be maintained, just like every other building. When they are being used all year, every year, the opportunities to perform heavy maintenance activities, like resurfacing a floor, are reduced. That can increase the overall cost of maintenance for districts because they are forced to be proactive in how they maintain their facilities, which ultimately means taxpayers and home owners end up footing the extra expenses. Cost increases of 10% in this area are common.
5. It reduces opportunities for extra-curricular activities.
Some teens need to work to support themselves, even in the United States. A year-round school schedule makes this difficult to accomplish. There are rules about how many hours a teen can work during a school day. For kids who are 14 or 15, they can only work 3 hours per day, or 18 hours per week, when school is in-session. If school is not in session, then they can work for 8 hours, up to 40 hours in a week. Many students must be home by 7pm as well with local youth employment laws on school days, providing further limitations.
6. It may cause some families to be on different schedules.
When there are multiple tracks involved with a year-round school, some families may find their children on different schedules from each other. Under the 9/3 schedule, if a family had 3 kids, it is theoretically possible that one child would always be home during a break all year long. Schools do their best to prevent this from happening, but “doing their best” is not the same as a guarantee. That puts some families into a very difficult financial situation.
7. It prevents teachers from maintaining a secondary employment.
Teachers often take a short-term, part-time job during the Summer as a way to supplement their income under the traditional format. That ability goes away during the year-round schedule. Although teacher wages have been rising in the United States in recent years, the national average starting teacher salary is still just $38,000, which is below the median income level. In Montana, starting teachers only make $30,000. Going to a year-round schedule may make it difficult for some teachers to be able to make ends meet.
8. It may create classroom environmental issues.
In the United States, the schools that are being used in many districts are several decades old. The last survey of building age for public schools discovered that the average public school building is more than 40 years old. Many of these buildings are not equipped with air conditioning. Trying to hold classes in that environment, during the warm months of Summer, may be detrimental to the learning process.
9. It reduces the impact of traditional Summer programs.
Many private companies and not-for-profit organizations rely on the extended break in the traditional American schooling schedule to fund their activities. Youth camps, for example, would need to change their entire way of providing services to accommodate the differences in the year-round schedule. Organizations like the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts would need to restructure themselves in some ways as well. These impacts have financial costs which are not often calculated when looking at the advantages and disadvantages of year-round schooling.
The pros and cons of year-round school show that some families will thrive in that type of environment, while others do not. Students get the same amount of instructional time. Some will be focused. Others will not. That is why each key point must be individually evaluated to determine if this type of school schedule will be beneficial.
About the Author of this Article
Natalie Regoli is a seasoned writer, who is also our editor-in-chief. Vittana’s goal is to publish high quality content on some of the biggest issues that our world faces. If you would like to contact Natalie, then go here to send her a message.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Year Round School
Throughout most of the country, school systems are setup to allow a long summer break. This is great for supporting summer programs and activities: camps, family vacations, and trips to the neighborhood pool, for example. On the other hand, many students find themselves showing a strong achievement decline throughout the summer months–and some lower-income students may even find themselves losing ground that they gained during the previous school year. For parents looking for the best possible education for their students, is year round schooling the best option?
The Advantages of Year Round Schooling
Year round schooling has been around for a while. The typical year round school schedule has students attend school for forty-five days, or nine weeks, then take a three-week vacation to help them reset and rest without losing too much ground. For many students and parents, this seems like the best available option.
Students have access to remediation opportunities throughout the school year. Many students face summer school as an opportunity to catch up on work that they missed or didn’t understand throughout the school year. Year round school, however, allows students to receive that remedial attention at regular intervals throughout the school year.
“Summer slide” occurs even with help from tutors. Over the summer, students often experience a decline in their working retention of the skills they learned over the last school year. Math and reading, in particular, often have to be retaught at the beginning of each school year. Avoiding this summer slide is easier when teachers have access to the children all year. This phenomenon is also researched and reported on as “Summer Learning Loss“.
Twelve weeks of summer is a long break. In many cases, students and parents are frustrated with the break and ready to go back to school long before it’s time for the school year to resume. With year round school, those breaks are just long enough for students to recharge and parents to set new routines before embarking on their new school year.
Frequent breaks reduce student and teacher stress. Kids get stressed out, too–especially high school students who have frequent deadlines and large projects. The frequent breaks offered by year round schooling give kids more opportunities to relax and let some of that stress slide away. Not only that, it reduces teacher stress and increases the quality of their instruction as a result.
Problems with Year Round Schooling
Year round schooling sounds great on the surface. Some parents and administrators, however, argue that it could cause just as many problems as it solves.
Band, sports teams, and other extracurricular activities will struggle with regular scheduling. It’s difficult to build a strong team when you’re taking a three-week break in the middle of every semester–and games and competitions will still take place during the break, since most districts are still on a standard schedule.
Finding childcare for younger children can be a challenge. For parents who are relying on the school to provide care for their children during the work day, year round school presents a new challenge regarding childcare. Instead of simply knowing that it will be necessary to do something different over the summer, it’s necessary to find quality childcare every few weeks. Scheduling also becomes much more difficult for parents with children in both traditional and year round schools.
Students coming from outside districts may struggle to catch up. The school year starts at a different time when you’re in a year round school, and students who are used to starting in August may struggle to catch up with a class that started in, for example, early July.
Year round school has the potential to offer many academic advantages to students on these tracks. By offering these advantages to students, it’s possible to help them learn more effectively. If you’re curious about the academic options available for your student, contact us today to learn more.
The pros and cons of year-round school
Thinking year-round school might be right for your child, but not sure if he’ll miss summer vacation? Before you make the decision, here’s a look at what this school system looks like and the pros and cons of year-round school.
What is year-round school?
Kids who attend a year-round school go to class the same number of days as students on a traditional school schedule. The only difference? A year-round school calendar is spread out more evenly over the year. Students get more frequent breaks, but their breaks are shorter and they don’t get a traditional 10- to 12-week summer break.
Here are some of the pros and cons of year-round school.
Pros Cons Longer-lasting learning with shorter, more intense bursts of instruction. More difficulty scheduling meaningful family time. Shorter breaks in learning, which can cause a decline in academic skills and knowledge. Possible child care challenges, if the care options in your area follow a traditional school track. Less boredom during long summer breaks. Fewer unique learning opportunities that come with traditional summer vacations.
The pros of year-round school
Eliminating any sort of long break from school can improve a child’s academic achievement. Long summers are known to cause “summer slide,” or the decline of academic skills and knowledge over the course of the extended vacation. Even if you hire a tutor to help your child in subjects like math, it may not be enough to prevent at least a little of this “summer slide” from occurring. This loss in learning varies across grade level, subject matter and family income, according to the National Summer Learning Association, but it affects all children in some way.
“If your child doesn’t have a long break, it helps prevent summer learning loss,” says Carol Lloyd, the executive editor at Great Schools. “Summer learning loss is a major issue for kids. All children — no matter their economic level — experience a slide in math over the summer months.” The slide varies for other subjects.
Though it may seem fun, a summer break can often lead to boredom. Year-round school eliminates the need to fill 12 weeks of vacation with activities to keep your child interested and engaged.
“If the American summer is not structured, it’s almost too long,” Lloyd says. “A lot of kids don’t have enough to do during the summer — they get bored.”
The shorter, more intense bursts of instruction along with more breaks is another pro of year-round school, says Dr. Matthew Lynch, an education activist and the dean of the school of education, psychology, and interdisciplinary studies at Virginia Union University.
The cons of year-round school
The most obvious downside of year-round school is the effect it can have on families. Quality family time is important to the emotional and developmental well being of a child. Not having a summer break can make it difficult to schedule meaningful family time.
“The major drawback is the assumed detriment to family structure,” Lynch says. “American families have become accustomed to the traditional long summer vacation. Parents may find it difficult to schedule vacations and family reunions.”
Finding child care that works well with year-round school is often another challenge for parents — no matter whether you’re considering hiring babysitters or nannies.
“Child care could also become a concern, particularly if multiple, shorter school vacations are scheduled throughout the year, at times when parents are working,” Lynch says.
In addition, the absence of a true summer can be a negative for all concerned. Summers off have long been a light at the end of the tunnel for teachers after an intense school year.
“Every job comes with its share of headaches and, at one point or another, employees in all industries claim that they are burned out,” Lynch says. He adds that this is of particular concern in education because tired teachers can have a direct effect on their students.
Finally, traditional summer vacations can provide unique learning opportunities you can’t get in a classroom. Taking that time away from kids means they could miss out on art, culture and special adventures.
“During summer break, kids are getting all sorts of experiences they wouldn’t get in school,” Lloyd says. “Summer is a great supplement to what your child is getting in school. If they’re in year-round school your child will miss out on those experiences.”
Is year-round school right for your family?
Deciding whether or not you send your child to year-round school is a very personal decision. Here are a steps to take before making your final decision:
- Weigh the pros and cons of year-round school.
- Visit the school in question.
- If your child is old enough, see what he thinks about this new school plan.
- Consider any difficulties you may have securing child care.
- Ultimately go with what’s best for your family.
To some, year-long learning sounds like a dream. To others, a disaster.
Year-round education would mean children remain occupied during what would be school holidays. Rather than having to source babysitters to watch over the kids while they’re working the day shifts, parents could just drop them off at school and carry on with the usual routine.
For students who approve of this system, it would mean extra time with their friends over the summer season. Rather than being stuck at home during weekdays, waiting for parents to spend the weekend with them, it would mean they remain occupied during what would be the seasonal breaks.
For teachers who have already applied year-long schooling to their curriculum, it could result in higher test results, increased student participation and larger pay packets.
Love seeing these @otmonarchs so engaged in their learning during summer school! #SomosOT #112leads pic.twitter.com/iBXEPRYYww
— Amy Cengel (@AmyCengel) July 8, 2019
But what disadvantages come along with the prospect of year-long learning?
Last month, a US daily newspaper asked that exact question to a fifth-grader named Ebrima Jallow.
Through his eyes, year-long schools leave a trail of unnecessary stress and destruction, leaving children without a summer break or a chance to take their heads away from the textbooks.
“Some parents think that it’s a great thing because you get a high chance of going to college. But having a summer off is not a bad thing. Having a day off school helps the teachers rest from teaching. Some teachers like it because they get paid more. And even the students need a break, even their brains.
“Kids in year-round school don’t get a summer break. They don’t get to play with friends except from their school,” Ebrima exclaims.
Outlining existing drawbacks, the fifth-grader considers the effects of year-long learning from all angles.
“Sometimes a week off from school is not enough for teachers. They work so hard every day without a single rest. It’s like it never ends. That is what it would be like in year-round schooling. Because spring break is like four days off from school. It goes by so fast. Teachers need like four weeks or eight weeks.
“And my third reason against year-long schools is that kids don’t get to visit their home country and some don’t visit their grandparents or cousins. They don’t get to play with their friends because of year-long schooling”, Ebrima adds.
Is it fair to expect students to work through their summer holidays? Source:
The typical US school schedule sees schools remain in session for about nine-and-a-half months before a two-and-a-half-month summer vacation.
Hopewell City Public Schools in Virginia is considering a year-long model that entails “nine straight weeks of instruction followed by either three weeks of vacation, two weeks of intersession – community projects, camps and field trips, among other things – or a combination of the two.”
By remodelling the schedule to fit a year-long agenda, Hopewell students would have the freedom to spend their summers with fellow students, participating in extra-curricular activities.
“Every child can benefit from this,” Hopewell Superintendent Melody Hackney told Richmond Times, “we’ll see all these improved student outcomes that we anticipate and that the research suggests will happen in Hopewell.”
It’s contrasting opinion to Ebrima’s, but shows that the debate for and against year-long schooling is very much still in action.
With advantages and drawbacks from both sides of the spectrum, which academic style would you prefer?
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/Suzanne Tucker Anyone who’s spent at least two years in school knows how quickly the mental cobwebs can pile up over the summer.
In June you’re a test-ready warrior. By September, you might feel like a foggy-headed dunce.
Sociologists refer to this decline as the summer setback, and it’s widely cited as one of the most corrosive factors in the achievement gap between low- and high-income students. While low-income kids play games and watch cartoons in the summer, high-income kids go to camp, visit museums, and continue learning.
Over time, those incremental advantages can spell the difference between who gets placed into elite colleges and high-paying jobs and who drops out.
Some parents and schools have tried to help kids overcome the summer setback with enrichment classes. But others have taken a more radical approach, calling instead for a complete overhaul of the school calendar so that kids attend school year-round. Between 1985 and 2011, the number of US schools with year-round learning increased ninefold, bringing the current total to just shy of 4,000.
According to recent research, however, the trend might be misguided. Year-round school doesn’t help with the effects of inequality or erase the summer setback all kids tend to experience. In the worst cases, it actually hurts kids’ education.
What people get wrong about year-round school
The biggest misconception with year-round school is that kids spend more time in the classroom. Parents hear “no summer break” and immediately think kids are getting an extra three months of school. That’s not necessarily true.
In most cases, kids who attend year-round schools learn for six weeks at a time before taking three-week breaks. Their “summer break” lasts only a month. They still learn for 180 days, just like traditional schools.
Wikimedia Commons Paul von Hippel, an expert on educational inequality at the University of Texas at Austin, argues that kids in schools using either calendar models — whether they’re from low-income, middle-income, or high-income families — end up performing roughly the same on standardized tests.
There’s no added drawback to summer vacation that year-round school protects kids from, he tells Business Insider. A three-week break might be shorter than a three-month break, but compared to how long kids are in school before the break, the setbacks add up equally.
“It is a bit like the race between tortoise and hare,” von Hippel wrote in a recent review of the research on year-round school, “except that, in this case, the race ends in a tie.”
Joe Valtierra/Flickr Still, people like to blame summer vacation because they see kids spending a huge chunk of time away from a classroom and think that’s doing the most damage. Often, the real culprit is economic in nature.
“The differences you see between upper-middle class families and poor families aren’t differences that go away if you rearrange the school calendar,” von Hippel says. “The summer provides a window into what those differences are like, but those differences exist every weekend. Whenever children are out of school, their environments are less equal.”
Richard Kahlenberg, senior fellow at The Century Foundation, agrees that rearranging the time isn’t nearly as important as making smarter use of it.
“It doesn’t get at that issue of making sure that low-income students, when they’re not in school, have lots of opportunities for enrichment,” he tells Business Insider.
Too many kids, too little time
Perceived increases in achievement aren’t the only reason a school district might push to switch. One of the few benefits of a year-round system is that it relieves the burdens of overcrowding.
In Wake County, North Carolina, for example, attendance rose by nearly two-thirds between 1995 and 2007. As a result, 37 of the county’s 177 schools now rely on a “multi-track” model in which students are split into four groups. Each group is staggered so while one group is on break, the others are in session, and the building doesn’t sit empty for three months.
Michael Chamberlin/ “It really is true that the traditional calendar is somewhat inefficient,” von Hippel says. Multi-track schools might have to pay more during the summer to keep the lights and A/C on, but that’s much cheaper than building a brand-new school.
In any case, the benefit that gets passed on to students is still marginal. The lessons from Wake County don’t translate to schools where overcrowding isn’t an issue. And research shows the switch can frustrate parents who have kids in schools using both schedules. Year-round school can even cause property values to decline if families and teachers relocate to keep their summers.
As von Hippel writes, “Although surveys can be informative, behaviors show teachers and parents voting with their feet. Actions speak louder than words.”
How to solve the right problems
If there’s any hope for year-round school it’s that multiple three-week breaks might give teachers an easier time to teach additional classes than a full summer, when kids have fully checked out. Neither Kahlenberg nor von Hippel could say for sure, however, because there isn’t any research on it.
What the research does suggest is schools should do whatever they can to close the gaps created by poverty. They can hold field trips to museums, aquariums, and national parks during the summer so kids don’t equate enrichment with summer school. And during the year they can focus more on personalized learning, which some schools have used to great success.
If governments want to stop the achievement gap from widening (or close it altogether), they can offer greater access to pre-K. Or, if they want to go by the latest research, they could just give poor families more money, which may raise achievement even more than early education.
Whatever the solution, implying that the three-month period between June and September is what leads some to Harvard and others to hard times ignores a much bigger problem. Schools need level playing fields, not cleverly designed calendars.