Year-Round vs. Traditional

March 24, 2008
By Rebecca Chhay, San Diego, CA

When thinking about year-round schools, people think about the absence of Winter Break, Spring Break, and summer vacation. However, the term 'year-round' does not refer to no breaks; it actually means an increased number of shorter breaks. For example, instead of going to school for months at a time and yearning for the next break, year-round students have a break every 45, 60, or 90 days, as there are many different ways of arranging the year-round calendar. In fact, there are actually two different versions of the year-round schedule, single-track and multi-track. Single-track is where all the students are off at the same time, and multi-track is where students are on different 'tracks' and some of them are off, while others are still in school. The single-track version of a year-round calendar (which is the version this piece will refer to) is a better way of organizing our school days for various reasons, including that it benefits students of all walks of life.

First off, students have a tendency to forget the material learned before, so that when students come back from a two or three month break, teachers are required to review material, which can be time-consuming. In a year-round school system, teachers "spend a day, maybe two, reviewing" according to Chris Pultz, a year-round third-fourth grade teacher at Trailblazer Elementary, compared to a traditional school which could have up to the first month be review. Secondly, schools have the option of providing intersession classes during the breaks they have, which is the equivalent to summer school. Robert Smotherman, superintendent of the Bardstown City School District in Bardstown, Kentucky says, "Instead of waiting until summer school, you catch him in October and you've got a shot at getting him back on track." Obviously, a student who gets help earlier on in the school year is more likely to understand the material that is taught later.

Third, with a year-round school system burnout is not as much as a problem, because of the evenly spaced breaks. Additionally, as there is less stress in the environment, acts of violence, such as fights, also decrease. Hilo Intermediate School, located in Hawaii, says they owe the year-round school system for their decreased number of fights, which was 68 in the first quarter, but quickly dropped down to a mere five. This may be particularly important in urban schools with all the violence surrounding them with exposure to graphic television and movies.

Furthermore, the year-round school system also significantly benefits English-learners. Principal Colebank of Nautlius Elementary School located in Lake Havasu, Arizona says, "Many of our English as a second language students were not exposed to English during the summer." It makes sense that English-learners who are not exposed to English for a full three months are much more likely to lose their English skills than English-learners attending a year-round school with shorter breaks. Principal Jill Brogan of Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in San Diego, CA says that among her Hispanic students that make up 82% of the school population, there was "a massive difference."

Of course, with shorter breaks there is inevitably no more summer vacation. However, summer vacation was established as part of the traditional schedule because early on we were, for the most part, an agrarian nation. Now that we have progressed pass that we should no longer keep a traditional schedule as there is no reason to do so, and there are so many reasons to change. To quote Mr. Ballinger, executive director of the National Association for Year-Round Education, "No educator would design a calendar these days with eight to 12 weeks of vacation at a time—that would be stupid." Long ago were the times that children needed to lend a hand in the fields, these days, children can possibly seen as a burden during summer vacations, as they need to be kept occupied. This problem would also be solved by the year-round system as students could choose to be part of an intersession class during the breaks. Not only would intersession classes be the only option for students at a year-round school, but certainly summer camps would change to better fit the schedule of our progressing needs.

Critics of the year-round school system argue that schools need air-conditioning during the summer which can be pricey. However, as the saying goes, "If there's a will, there's a way." This statement is supported by the James Rutter Middle School, in Sacramento, California; their school starts "at about 6:50 am. or so, and ends around 1:10," says Mr.Vale a seventh grade mathematics teachers at the James Rutter Middle School.

There are many flaws with the traditional schedule and the year-round school system solves many of them. The year-round school system is fitted to our needs as a society today, with educators constantly being pressured to raise test scores, the increasing amount of violence in our nation, what better choice is there than the year-round school system? In addition, the year-round school system addresses the fact that we are indeed, a land of immigrants. We should not be clinging childishly to an antiquated system, especially when we have such a marvelous alternative.

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This article has 9 comments.

Kyle W said...
on Jan. 6 2011 at 10:10 am
I would not to  have all year round school because I would want more time to do more things on vacation.

jazzy_girlz said...
on Jan. 6 2011 at 10:09 am
I dont think that we should have all round school. I think this because Kids deserve a long break after a hard year. PLaying outside or going to the waterpark. That is ALOT more healthy then siting in your chair for about 8 hours a day then going to sleep not to long after. result fatness.

Emily J said...
on Jan. 6 2011 at 10:08 am

I do agree with not getting enough sleep, but if the hours remain the same I thin Year-Round school would be a good idea


Emily J. said...
on Jan. 6 2011 at 10:05 am
I agree with the author of this article. Year-Round school has more pros than cons.  These days America is all about educating it's children because they are the next generation.  Todays kids will be the ones making and supplying our resources for the future.  If we want our country to move forward it is only logical to change to a proven system that can further enrich our education.

Christina p. said...
on Jan. 6 2011 at 10:05 am
I disagree with this because I think most kids like it when you have all summer off because you get to relax. Some people would like it because you get to have 2 weeks off once in a while but then you would have to go to school non when you got the whole summer off so then you can go  swimming with your friends.

bmetz15 said...
on Jan. 6 2011 at 10:02 am
I feel that there should not be year round school. I think this because students would be upset and not agree with the situation. Also, it may allow students to switch to a school that does not apply year round school, causing your school to lose an amount of kids. Also, if you had to go to school at 6:50am every morning for 45, 60, or 90 days, this gives kids rarely not enough time to get their amount of sleep. It also doesn't give teachers and staff workers any breaks to sleep in and relax. 

lexipooh said...
on Jan. 6 2011 at 10:01 am
i am againest year round school and this is my opinion and i will syick with it

Sombody said...
on Jan. 6 2011 at 10:00 am
I think that her story was nice! and it had very good choice words also it had very good things and ideas in it!

Montanna K. said...
on Jan. 6 2011 at 9:54 am
Well,I highly disagree with the idea of school year round. I mean kids are going to want longer breaks. I know in the summer I love swimming all day and with school I won't be able to do as much. This is a marvelous essay but I think we should not have year round school. I heard my brother is going to start that and I was kind of thinking:what if my school does it. I think some kids would start skipping because of year long school.

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