Year-Round School

Year-round schooling is a type of education, quite popular in the USA, characterized with no multi-month summer vacation.

Generally, schools in America are open for 10 months in the year. This model was introduced in the past when the USA was still largely engaged in agriculture and children were used to working in the fields during the summer. Since the times have changed, year-round education is getting more and more popular.

In her work "Year-Round School: The Best Thing since Sliced Bread", Elaine Warrick-Harris says that "The term "year-round" is actually misleading." This type of education is also known as "continuous learning," "all-seasons learning" and "four-season school". The term is usually associated with the organizational system under which the school facility is used during every season." It is important to stress the fact that the year-round education is not an alternative curriculum for learning.

More precisely, under the year-round schooling, children still have to attend classes 180 days of the year. These days, however, are distributed in a special way with shorter breaks between each term. The most famous example of year round education is the 45-15 plan. Yet, it is far from being the only one existing. Under this scheme students have classes for 45 days and then get 15 days off. The 60-20 and the 90-30 plans are other examples of a way to organize the schools' schedule.

Year-round education turns out to be a complex topic with its advantages and disadvantages, which should be considered carefully.

When it comes to pros and cons, it is very difficult to be determined since the opinions of all parties involved in the issue differ.

According to research, the first advantage is that students will be less likely to forget the knowledge acquired during the term, due to the shorter summer breaks. Secondly, teachers will be able to use the classroom time more efficiently after the vacation thanks to less need for re-teaching skills. In the third place, evenly distributed breaks throughout the year will provide families with the opportunity to organize their vacations more easily. Moreover, families with need to pay for a childcare will benefit from such a schedule. The studies also show that the amount of school vandalism and the number of burglaries decreases.

On the other hand, there are a number of disadvantages. For example, if schools are open throughout the whole year, maintenance costs are believed to get higher. Besides, behavioral issues in the classroom tend to get more serious, especially if students face difficulties in focusing their attention. What is more, students with financial problems who need a job to make money for college will be hampered by the discontinuous schedule. Last but not least, it is unfavorable for summer programs such as youth camps.

It is important to examine the benefits and drawbacks for teachers, too. Multi-track year-round schedules give teachers opportunity to earn additional money through extended contracts, intersession employment, and substituting. During intersessions, teachers have the chance to replace on other tracks within the same school or at other schools in the district. Moreover, if the teachers are occupied in professional development activities during the vacations, they will be compensated. With the year-round calendar, teachers have the opportunity to work less than their colleagues in the single-track system.

Research shows that teachers face three main problems in the multi-track year-round program, namely organizational issues, continuing education, and conflicts in personal schedules. Teachers in multi-track year-round system have to deal with a number of organizational problems like sharing a classroom with other teachers. It would be difficult for the teachers who are keen to develop professionally, to attend courses during the summer when schools are still open. Year-round schooling would be an obstacle for teachers whose children are on a different calendar. Thus, teachers will be impacted financially as they will have to pay for childcare.

According to Education Department statistics, in 2000 about 1.5 million children attended public schools operating under the year-round scheme. In 2008, nearly 2.5 million students were on such a plan, while in 2012 their number is expected to reach more than 5 million, or 10 percent of all children enrolled in American public schools.

Year-round schooling is a solution of some problems which the US education system is facing. It best solves the dilemma with of over-crowded school facilities. When schools decide on what year-round education scheme exactly want to implement, at first they have to estimate their needs. The two main concerns for school administrators and educators should be student achievement and retention if the year-round education is introduced.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Is Year-Round Schooling on Track? Summer Learning Loss and Overcrowding Drive Alternative Schedules
Dessoff, Alan.
District Administration, Vol. 48, No. 7, July-August 2011
Year-Round Schools Can Stimulate Learning
.
USA TODAY, Vol. 129, No. 2663, August 2000
The Perennial Reform; Fixing School Time: Education Critics Often Call for Longer School Days and Years. but There Is Little Research to Support Such Demands and Several Reasons Why Little Will Change
Cuban, Larry.
Phi Delta Kappan, Vol. 90, No. 4, December 2008
Year-Round School: The Best Thing since Sliced Bread
Warrick-Harris, Elaine.
Childhood Education, Vol. 71, No. 5, Summer 1995
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Lessons: Year-Round School Has Pluses, Minuses
Joan Little Of the Post-Dispatch.
St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), August 4, 1997
The Everything New Teacher Book: Increase Your Confidence, Connect with Your Students, and Deal with the Unexpected
Melissa Kelly.
Adams Media, 2004
Librarian’s tip: "Year Round Education" begins on p. 227
Contrasting Experiences of White Students and Students of Color in a Year-Round High School
Hood, ord; Freeman, Donald J.
The Journal of Negro Education, Vol. 69, No. 4, Fall 2000
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
The Effect of Year-Round Schooling on Administrators
Wildman, Louis; Arambula, Stacy; Bryson, Diane; Bryson, Ty; Campbell, Karen; Dominguez, Tim; Flores, Rebecca S.; Jackson, Sandy; Killberg, Toni; Lara, Gilbert; Letlow, Joan L.; Pitts, Thomas A.; Shoop, Diane P.; Waterman, Kathryn C.; Watkins, Matthew R.
Education, Vol. 119, No. 3, Spring 1999
Summer Learning: Research, Policies, and Programs
Geoffrey D. Borman; Matthew Boulay.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004
Librarian’s tip: The discussion of year-round school begins on p. 15
The Copernican Plan and Year-Round Education: Two Ideas That Work Together
Gee, William D.
Phi Delta Kappan, Vol. 78, No. 10, June 1997
Students Prosper at Year-Round School
Bhatti, Jabeen.
The Washington Times (Washington, DC), June 16, 1999
Taking Charge of Time: Why Year-Round Schooling Works for This Illinois District. (District Profile: Rock Island-Millan (Ill.) School District #41)
Barton, Joe Ann.
District Administration, Vol. 39, No. 2, February 2003
Information Age Students Need Year-Round Schools
Washington, Adrienne T.
The Washington Times (Washington, DC), July 27, 2001
Evaluating Year-Round Schools in Texas
Opheim, Cynthia; Mohajer, Kristine Hopkins; Read, Robert W., Jr.
Education, Vol. 116, No. 1, Fall 1995
Educators Urge Focus on 'Year-Round' College: New Academic Calendar Would Help Low-Income Students, UNCF Leader Says
Dervarics, Charles.
Black Issues in Higher Education, Vol. 21, No. 8, June 3, 2004
From Self-Supported to State-Supported Administration of Summer Programs: The California State University's Conversion to Year Round Education
Demetrulias, Diana.
Summer Academe, Vol. 5, January 1, 2005
Looking for a topic idea? Use Questia's Topic Generator