A year-round school is a school that runs for 10 months with a cumulative 2 months of break distributed throughout the year, without the usual multiple-month summer vacation.
More and more school districts are moving to a year round school calendar. The 180 day school year exists because of an antiquated agrarian system in America. Children needed to be free during the summer months to work the fields and harvest crops. Those days no longer exist.
There are many arguments for and against the year round school concept. However, with talk of an increase in the number of attendance days and summer school being an absolute certainty for more than half of the district’s students and nearly half of the district staff being paid to teach summer school or attend professional development, year round school is making more sense than ever.
Children need to be in school more than out of school. Sixty days of educational inactivity certainly does not help increase educational success for those who are not otherwise engaged in summer school or extended learning activities throughout the summer. Too many children are left to fend for themselves throughout the summer months because parents still have to go to work and cannot afford day care or babysitters for such a long period of time.
A longer school year coupled with a year round school calendar would give teachers the opportunity to engage students in hands on activities and provide extended learning experiences that are generally reserved for those children fortunate enough to be accepted in special summer programs.
Make no mistake, a longer school year and year round school will not solve the problems inherent in the system of education. Without widespread fundamental change in the way we educate our children how much time we devote to teaching them is inconsequential. However, it is necessary to recognize that, in order to effectively address the needs of a large population of urban students, consideration of the amount of time these students are engaged in learning activities is essential.
Multiple problems require multiple solutions.
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