Year Round Schooling Essay

1778 words - 7 pages

Industries such as business and medicine depend on extreme methods and forward thinking ideas. To be a successful enterprise, one must be willing to take risks and try new things. Within the last century, education has attempted to take a leap of faith by completely flipping the traditional school schedule and idea of summer vacation upside down. Just as with any idea, there are advantages and disadvantages as well as supporters and opponents. Each district must look at their own individual needs and evaluate the trials from schools that have gone before them to decide if year-round schooling would benefit their school.
The first year-round school was opened in 1904 in Bluffton, Indiana with the intent to increase school-building capacity and improve student achievement (Palmer and Bemis). There are three types of year-round schooling; single-track, multi-track, and extended year. Single-track keeps all students and staff in the building at the same time running on the same schedule. Multi-track splits students and staff into different groups which follow different instructional and vacation schedules. There are advantages and disadvantages to all. A multi-track schedule allows a building to accommodate more students, but it poses the problem of having children from the same family on different school schedules (Palmer and Bemis). Extended year adds 15 to 20 days of instructional time which costs more money to school districts (Dessoff, 2011). Obama has called for longer school years to help American students compete with other countries of whose students attend school 25 to 30 percent longer than American students according to Education Secretary Arne Duncan (Dessoff, 2011). The three most common year-round schedules are the 60-20, 45-15, and the Concept 6. The first two numbers in the first two schedules represent the number of instructional days followed by the number of vacation days. The third schedule consists of 6 terms each consisting of 43 days. Students attend two terms and then get a term off.
Some advantages of year-round schooling include improved achievement, improved attendance by both teachers and students, reduced discipline problems, lower teacher stress, increased motivation due to frequent breaks, and increased opportunities for enrichment (Palmer and Bemis). During the two week breaks in between school sessions, students have the opportunity to take classes on karate, ballet, photography, cooking, and swimming. This intersession provides time for hands-on, big project classes that get kids involved in topics that interest them. Intersession can also be used as an intervention for students who are falling behind. “Karl Alexander, sociology professor at Johns Hopkins University, studied 800 students for more than 20 years in Baltimore’s elementary schools. He found that by ninth grade, low-income students had fallen 3 ½ grade levels behind their middle-class peers. And most of that gap was attributable to...

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