One of the big issues today in the United States seems to be school reform; everyone seems to agree that we need to improve our nation’s schools. There have been several solutions suggested, such as: reforming curriculum, implementing national tests, and improving the quality of teachers. One specific solution may be to change the school calendar from the traditional school session of nine months, to a year-round term. Supposedly, this new calendar better facilitates learning. Year-round education has the potential to bring economy, accountability, and educational efficiency to the schools. While Year-Round schooling can save money, the impact on academic achievement is uncertain (Graves, McMullen and Rouse). This type of school system impacts students, teachers, parents and the community in both positive and negative ways. The traditional school calendar has been in effect for more than a century. Students have relied on a 180-day school year with a long summer vacation. Originally, the school calendar was organized so that children would have the summer off to help their parents work on the farm. Although most communities no longer depend heavily on agriculture and children no longer carry on the responsibilities they once did, our society continues to follow the traditional school calendar. The debate surrounding YRE (Year-Round Education) generally focuses on five broad categories: professional staffing and development, administrative issues, student achievement, parental and community concerns, and cost factors (Opheim, Mohajer and Read). The term “Year-Round Education” may be misleading. It doesn’t mean that students attend school Monday through Friday all year long. As Elaine Warrick-Harris states, “perhaps a better name for the concept would be “continuous learning,” “all-seasons learning,” or even “four-seasons school” (Warrick-Harris). Year-round schools operate for the same number of days as schools with traditional calendars but have several "intersessions" instead of a long summer break. Instead of containing a three month vacation, as a traditional school calendar does, YRE evenly spaces several "mini" vacations called intersessions into the twelve month school calendar. Year-round education (YRE) is an approach that gives schools a variety of options to arrange their 180-day school calendar to better support the student learning (Pawlas). Schools may organize their intersessions in different ways. Most offer some sort of child care before and after they provide enrichment activities and remedial help. Such activities may include field trips, crafts, and learning projects. If they wish to, regular classroom teachers may receive extra pay by providing instruction during intersession (Fish and Gandara). There are two types of year-round education: Single-track and Multi-track. Single-track YRE is simply the reorganization of vacation time; summer break is broken up and distributed to make a more continuous period of instruction. All students operate on the same schedule. That is, all children and teachers share the same instruction and vacation times. During the vacation periods the schools are generally closed when neither the students nor the teachers are present. The rescheduled vacation is integrated throughout the school year into periods called intersessions. A common single track is the 45-15 schedule, which consists of four nine-week terms (45 days) separated by four three-week vacations (15 days each). The multi-track YRE is a schedule that has rearranged summer break into short vacations integrated throughout the year. The student population is divided into a set number of tracks. One track is on vacation at all times. George Pawlas points out,” this provides for no administration down time in the summer months” (Pawlas). Each track is assigned its own schedule. Teachers and students assigned to a particular track follow the same schedule, and are...
Cited: Fish, Patricia and Judy Gandara. "Year-Round Schooling as an Avenue to Major Structural Reform." Educational Evaluation an Policy Analysis, Vol. 16, No. 1 (1994): 67-85. Print.
Graves, Jennifer, Steven McMullen and Kathryn Rouse. "Multi-Track Year-Round Schooling as Cost Saving Reform: Not Just a Matter of Time." Education Finance and Policy Vol. 8, No. 3 (2013): 300-315. Print.
Opheim, Cynthia, Kristine Hopkins Mohajer and Robert W. Read Jr. "Evaluating Year-Round Schools in Texas." Education Vol 116, No. 1 (1995). Print.
Pawlas, George E. "Year-Round Education: Florida Principal 's Perspectives." ERS Spectrum Vol. 14, No. 3 (1996) : 42-47. Print.
Sardo-Brown, Deborah, and Michael Rooney. "The Vote on All-Year Schools." American School Board Journal (1992): 25-27. Print.
Warrick-Harris, Elaine. "Year-Round School: The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread." Childhood Education Vol. 71, No. 5 (1995) : 282-287. Print.
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