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.