Year-round school

Year-round school

Year-round schools are educational institutions based on a schedule that has school throughout most of the calendar year, as opposed to having no school in summer. A motivation is that higher student throughput is accomplished via more effective scheduling of school resources. Year round schedules deliver the same number of total days of classroom education and vacation as traditional calendars, distributed differently throughout the year. Funding considerations favor multi-tracking students, which allows more students to use the same number of classrooms, instead of constructing entirely new schools. In addition to these systems, students enrolled in year-round classes often claim that their calendar schedule is more balanced. Advocates claim that year-round calendars help students achieve higher and allow teachers to provide more effective education. Reports from the California State Department Of Education show that standardized test scores increased an average of 9.5% in Grade 3 with an average increase of 13.3% in reading scorescitation|author=United States Department of Education|title=What YRE Can Do To Enhance Academic Achievement and To Enrich the Lives of Students That the Traditional Calendar Cannot Do.|year=1992|url=] . Conversely, opponents insist that year-round education is detrimental to student learning. Some school board officials and studies indicate negative impacts of schedule changes and year-round education. Lawsuits have even been filed [citation|author=Mexican American Legal Defense Fund|title=Students, Parents File Suit Against State's Funding Of School|url=] against various school districts, citing year-round schools as being "harmful to students."


Organization of the school calendar redistributes time from the traditional summer vacation to other times throughout the year in the form of breaks called intersessions.Two forms of year-round education are common :
* Single-Track calendars: As with traditional calendars (all single track calendars are modified traditional calendars), all students attend school during the same intervals, and share the same scheduled breaks. Single-track year-round calendars are known by many names; Balanced Calendar, Modified Traditional, Alternative Calendar. All year-round calendars are identified by their characteristics, not by what name has been chosen by the school district. These characteristics are shortened summer vacation, Fall breaks, extended Winter and/or Easter breaks, and early school start dates. Typical school start dates are in late July/early August, with some schools starting in mid- November as well.citation|author=Kneese, Carolyn|title=|publisher=United States Department of Eductation (ERIC Digest)|title=Single-Track vs. Multi-Track Schedules|date=2000-08-01|url=


* Multi-track scheme: Students are assigned different schedules called tracks. These tracks are also split up throughout the year, but a single student is not required to attend every single track in order to complete one full year of education. At most times during the year, students in the same school will be on vacation while others are schooling. Typical school start dates are in July. There are two different types of calendars:
**A Concept 6 calendar splits up the academic calendar into six eight-week blocks. Students attend school for four months, then take two months of vacation, or attend school for two months and go on vacation for two months. This allows a school to gain 50% more capacity, but requires the school year to be shortened from the traditional 180 days to 163 days, which is made up by longer classes. A modified version splits the school year up into twelve four week blocks, with students attending school for two months and going on vacation for one month. [citation|date=2005|author=California Department of Education|title= Year-Round Education Fact Book 2005 (Handbook of Education Information)|url=]
**A traditional multitrack calendar permits the school to attain the normal 180 days of education in a school year. A four track plan allows a school to gain up to 33% more capacity by having one track of students away while the other three tracks are in class. Common schedules are 45/15, 60/20, and 90/30, while the first number denotes the number of instructional days and the second the number of vacation days. A five track plan allows up to 25% more capacity, while reducing the number of teachers that have to roam between classrooms. A common schedule is 60/15. This also allows for a longer common vacation. citation|author=National Association for Year Round Education|title=Typical Calendars|url=] The Orchard Plan is a plan which has teachers teaching 225 school day years, with a group of students going on vacation periodically.citation|author=United States Department of Education|title=An Experiment in Restructuring K-6 Education|date=1991-04-01|url=] Generally, common breaks are scheduled for the period between Winter and New Year's Day and for Easter break.

Whether on a single- or multi-track schedule, students attend school for a prescribed length of time and then have a vacation. These breaks, whether vacation time or instruction time, are known as "intersessions". Common schedules are 7 to 12 weeks of school, followed by a 1-3 week break. Summer vacations are shortened to as little as 4 weeks in order to support the added breaks throughout the year.


Proponents of year-round school cite:
** Surveys in year-round districts [citation|author=Wake County Public School System|title=Teacher Survey: Year-Round Conversion|url=|date=2006-05-04] indicate that between 60% to 90% of teachers prefer year-round education.
** Prevention of student and teacher burnout
** Decrease of teacher and student absences due to shorter instructional cycles


Opposition to year round schools can be fervent. Wake County, North Carolina, parents opposed to their children being assigned to schools with a year round schedule took their case to the North Carolina Supreme Court. [cite news|url=|title=Supreme Court to hear year-round school case|date=8/27/2008|publisher=WRAL|accessdate=2008-08-27] [cite news|url=|title=Mandatory Year Round Debate Archive|language=WRAL|accessdate=2008-08-27]


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