Should Your School Go Year-Round?


Elijah Solonika-Davis, Intro Writer

The idea of shifting from the standard 10-month school schedule to a year-round schedule may seem daunting to many people. However, there is evidence to show that it may actually be less disruptive than the standard school schedule most of us are used to. Schools would still fit the same 25 to 30 weeks into the calendar, but they would spread them over 12 months instead of the regular 10.

What’s the difference between regular and year-round schedules?

In a year-round school, students go to school for a period of six to nine weeks, interspersed with two to four week-long breaks. This can create a more concrete and simple schedule, as opposed to taking breaks around holidays and changing seasons. This allows the time spent in school overall to stay consistent. This can create a more stable and less disruptive learning environment, allowing for healthier educational growth. This infographic from WordPress shows how a standard year may work at one of these schools.

The Problem with Regular Breaks

Frequent breaks are a core tenant of the year-round structure, but they could do more harm than good. According to some year-round students, this schedule can become disruptive when regearing after a break, and they’d have to do it all again a short while later.

Some proponents of year-round schools argue that the frequent breaks allow students to get some well-needed relaxation when they need it most, can allow students to catch up on work without falling behind in other classes, and allows them to feel refreshed by the start of the new cycle. 

The breaks can be a struggle for students and parents. Although they may be more consistent than the traditional route, they can disrupt social, extracurricular, or work schedules. Parents may not be able to find a sitter for such a sporadic time period consistently, leading to more children being left home alone. 

It can also eliminate the prospect of a summer job for teens, which can be a valuable learning experience. Without a reliable and lengthy time period to work, it would be difficult for them to find a schedule that can accommodate their school. 

Frequent breaks may also disrupt social standing with students, making their friend groups and clubs less consistent. Taking such frequent breaks can also make it difficult to cultivate worthwhile relationships.

Why may year-round be worth it?

The core problem with the standard school year is the “summer slide” as some call it. It occurs during the summer when students’ grasp on the knowledge they gained in the school year “slips”, leaving them less prepared when the new year starts.

Schools can also serve as medical, psychological, and emotional support for students. Consistency in these areas is an absolute must for developing youth. 

There is also a financial incentive for year-round school, as the government more readily gives grants to schools with longer schedules.

How widespread are these schools?

According to the National Association for Year-Round Education, approximately four percent of US schools from 2011-12 follow the year-round schedule. This is a massive increase from 1986, where only a couple hundred schools used this structure, that’s a 500% increase! This shows that the school districts are interested in expanding the structure, and are confident in its success.