Year Round School vs Summer Break

Teachers and administrative staff at Bowley Elementary School on Fort Bragg wave goodbye to their students on the last day of school, June 14. "I'm going to miss this group of children," said school Principal Andrea Mial. "We had a great time this year keeping the children safe, happy and challenged."

46 states and over 3,100 schools in the US today use year round school schedules. These plans have impacts on everything involving the school, from the building and staff to the funding. The advantages of year-round school are limitless, but the most significant advantages are those that impact the students. In many studies, students and teachers working with a year-round school calendar have said that they enjoy it more, and it is, in fact, more productive. There’s no summer to forget things and the schedule helps to enhance the continuity of instruction. They also say that the plans are less stressful and it decreases absences. Lastly, year-round school gives time for remediation during the breaks for the kids who do need the extra help, boosting their academic performance. All in all, year-round school prevents the retention loss over the long summer break, it is less stressful, and breaks allow for time for remediation.

The most obvious advantage year-round school provides is that students will not go through what teachers call the “summer slide,” where students forget what they have already learned over the summer. Basically, the year-round school schedule spreads the summer break throughout the duration of the year and leaves 2-3 weeks off for summer. The summer break, in fact, is not necessary anymore. Before World War II, the year-round school calendar was being spread to all the schools. This stopped because students’ parents needed them at home to work and harvest on their farms during the summer months. Considering this is no longer a problem today, our summer has no purpose other than the fact that it is tradition. Year-round school helps with the continuity of instruction and learning. This helps the student’s retention of material and also saves time. Teachers say that the first month of every school year is spent reviewing the last year’s material. This time would not have to be wasted with pointless review when using a year-round schedule. It could be spent learning. Having school throughout the year increases student’s retention rate because there are no long periods of time without instruction.

The school systems reported less absences when running on a year-round schedule. This is due to teachers and students having more options when choosing a date to go on a vacation, since there are more breaks throughout the year, rather than parents and students deciding to miss school altogether to take a trip. There are also fewer cases of sickness while operating on a year-round schedule because the time off gives students and staff time to recuperate, reorganize and recharge throughout the year. Teachers working in schools that operate on a year-round school system have verified this. They say that it is easier for them to stay on track and healthy with the schedule giving them time to catch up on grading, sleeping, and relaxing every once in awhile. The work on the students is also less stressful, as the breaks give them time to catch up on work. Also, the work that would normally be given during a traditional school schedule is able to be spread over a larger portion of time because teachers feel as though they have enough time to cover all of the material for their class. This decreases the amount of stress on the students and helps them stay focused.

Success rates have gone up, but not necessarily because of the different schedule. The programs offered at the school during breaks help kids extraordinarily. In school systems around the nation using the year-round schedule, extra classes, tutoring, and activities are often offered during the time off. This greatly impacts students in areas such as their retention rates, academic ability, understanding of the topic, and just getting the help they need in general. These breaks give time for remediation throughout the school year, where students can come in on their days off, review material, and get the help they need. The advantages these programs bring show through the student’s test scores, which have gone up. With the traditional calendar, it’s often hard for students to find the time to get with their teachers and get the help they need, especially if they are involved in extracurricular activities along with upper level classes. The remediation offered during the breaks and time off push students to their greatest potential.

So although Millbrook runs on the traditional schedule, there are many ways the school could benefit from changing to a year-round schedule. The students benefit from frequent, shorter breaks rather than a large break in the summer, because the majority of the student body forgets most of what they learned the year before during a long summer break. This makes it necessary for teachers to spend the whole first month of the traditional school year reviewing. With year-round school, there is no need for extra reviewing time, because the students are never out of school long enough to forget material. They are also given time to reorganize, relax, and recharge more often, which, in turn, lowers stress levels and decreases the absences of students. Lastly, remediation is offered to students when they need it, and this pushes them to get the help they need and to be the best student they can be. No matter what factor of school is discussed, year-round school positively affects all of them.

About the Author

Eliza Grigsby
Eliza is a junior in her second year working with the BlueXpress. She is involved with many things around Millbrook such as the swim, softball and academic teams, interact club and SCA as well as dance at the Shenandoah Conservatory Arts Academy.
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