|Ten years ago, according to U.S. Education Department statistics, roughly 1.5 million public school children attended year-round school. Six years ago, that number increased to 2 million. By 2008—the most recent figures available—nearly 2.5 million pupils were on a year-round schedule. Since then, some of the nation’s largest districts have adopted or expanded year-round education, or YRE, in their schools.What’s more, some education groups predict that by 2012 more than 5 million students — about 10 percent of all children enrolled in American public schools — could be going to school year-round.|
“The idea of a longer school year, I think, makes sense,” said President Obama in a recent interview on NBC’s TODAY show. “Students are losing a lot of what they learn during the school year during the summer.” The phenomenon is often called “spring slide” or “summer slump” and because of this phenomenon, teachers often devote much of the first few months in the fall reviewing material that was taught the previous year—which many argue is hardly efficient for teachers or their students.
Beyond this phenomenon, many schools and parents also see financial benefits to YRE as well as an increased level of academic achievement in students who have the opportunity to learn more and at a pace that hampers burnout.
On the contrary, one of the largest arguments against YRE is that students will be in school thirty to forty more days per year and that teacher vacation time will be reduced. However, most year-round schools actually operate on a modified school year schedule. Instead of adding days to the school year, the traditional 180-day calendar is divided into more manageable segments. These segments do create a schedule that requires students to attend school on a more consistent basis throughout the year, but many argue that it does not equate to less time for teacher and student breaks.
If your school or district is considering making the switch to a year-round schedule, here are a few tips to communicating with parents and students:
From administration and educators to students, parents and community members, a move to a year-round calendar will impact everyone in different ways. It’s important to consider these impacts in order to decide if the change is right for your school, but also to help prepare for communication.
Is year-round school for your school? Consider the research, ask your administrators and educators and then get parents on board with whatever your school decides.
1-4 Johnson, Alex. “Year-round School Gains Ground around U.S. – TODAY People – TODAYshow.com.” TODAYshow.com. 27 Oct. 2010. Web. 11 Dec. 2010.
5 Wengard, J. “The Modified School Year’s Positive Impact on Education.” Associated Content. Web. 11 Dec. 2010.
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