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Would You Support Year-Round School in Your Town?

Even if you don't have children in the school system, is this something your town should consider?

Now that the days are getting longer again, most school aged children in Minnesota can see the bright sun of summer on the horizon.

Yes, the countdown to summer vacation is definitely in full-swing. Well—unless you're a kid who attends a school with a year-round academic calendar.

There are quite of few metro area schools that offer the year-round model, such as Crossroads Elementary in St. Paul and Paideia Academy in Apple Valley—and the model is getting more popular.

According to the Minnesota Department of Administration, a study around 1999 showed that many Minnesota schools began adopting either block scheduling or year-round education calendars to improve overall student achievement. Block scheduling gives teachers and students more time in each class period and focuses students’ attention on fewer classes at a time; year-round education either increases the time students are in school or rearranges school days to make learning more continuous. In addition to improving student performance, other factors, such as reducing costs, have also motivated schools to adopt alternative schedules. However, results are mixed on how beneficial this model is.

You'd think that most kids would be opposed to losing their summers, even though comparable time is given in a year-round school model. However, in a recent post on the Richfield Patch Facebook page, a local mother said her son had many friends who attended schools with year-round schedules and he was even considering approaching the Richfield School Board about making the transition.

So, would you support your school district changing to a year-round academic calendar? Do you think your child would go for it? What benefits or disadvantages do you see with the year-round model? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Caitlin Burgess March 01, 2013 at 05:15 PM
If I were a teacher, while it would be awesome to have all summer off, a year-round school model would allow more opportunities through the vacation schedule. I think its hard for teachers to take off time during the year. This model would give them flexibility throughout the year. (Maybe a winter getaway!) Two cents.
Womanhearmeroar March 03, 2013 at 03:56 AM
I'm torn as I agree with different aspects of both sides. The kids are ready to go back after eight weeks. Six weeks might not be enough, but twelve is too long! I supplement their summers with extra learning and lots of activities/ YMCA camps, etc., so i don't feel my kids lose a ton. They do start getting restless come August, and I usually do pull them for vacation once during the school year. It would be nice to have extra time for vacation at other times during the year, so we would not have to pull them. Most schools do not have air conditioning, which would be a concern. It is bad enough the few weeks on each end where they have to deal with that now. I can't imagine them in school during the real hot part of summer! Any school proposing a year round system better have air conditioning or plan to install it along with covering those added costs. Just something to consider.
Phyllis Frank April 01, 2013 at 03:31 AM
Without hesitation I would support a K-12 school calendar year that has been balanced for efficient, effective, and fair use of district resources to learn, teach, plan, partner, and play on behalf of all students. The 19th century traditional calendar was never meant to be an instructional calendar. Planning for annual measurable, observable, cumulative learning loss for all children, just more apparent for some, is more than enough reason to shorten the summer break to 6-7 weeks and redistribute the vacation/Intersession learning days around the year. The effect is a school calendar year that is more natural to learning and like life - balanced. The opportunity for intervention and enrichment in a timely way around the year begins to address individual learning needs in a preventative model that offers continuous, connected opportunity to learn. Charles Ballinger, former executive director of the National Associaion for Year-Round Education, routinely asked folks to consider: "If year round education were the traditional school calendar, and had been for over 100 years, and if someone were to suggest a "new" calendar whereby students would be exempt from instruction for up to three months at a time, would the American public allow, or even consider, such a scheme?" The US is the only industrialized nation that annually plans to disconnet from students for 10-12 weeks. Have a 21st century school calendar year discussion and compare the frameworks. You will like it!
Mike B. April 01, 2013 at 11:34 AM
I think some of the adults who are pro- year-round school have forgotten what it's like to be a kid. Kids need to be able to play baseball, etc. without adult supervision and organization, trade baseball cards in the summer, ride their bikes wherever they would like, go to the swimming pool, learn arts and crafts, and go on a two- or three-week vacation with their parents. Plus, in this part of the country, there are precious few nice months of weather. Too many kids are growing up in such structured environments nowadays that they won't be able to think for themselves when they grow up. I feel sorry for a lot of the kids who didn't know how fun summers were in the 50s and 60s, and their moms said "just be sure you're home for dinnner."
Phyllis Frank April 01, 2013 at 04:41 PM
With all due respect Mike, because judging by your comments we are approximately the same age, there needs to be balance in play as well. Exposure to four season opportunities to play, explore, and experiment can lead to more creative, insightful endeavors to take back to the classroom at four season Intersession end. Consider this, some occuptations, as in your climate, do not allow for parents to ramble and vacation as the construction field. The wonderful Minnesota summer recreational occupations also limit the time parents can engage..In a balanced academic calendar year we are speaking of integrating the 180 days students are required to attend, parents are required to send and the professional are required to be prepared for in a way that offers equal opportunity for play around the year, continuous school/family/community partnership, and the communiies schools more regularly open wiith access to libaries and technology.Please consider looking at the kids of today, their world, and their families as we dream of their successful tomorrow as they experience the greatest contribution of our society - free and appropriate public education for al children. I am still a kid at heart but I do not want the adults who are planning the education experience for my grandchildren to continue to plan for an annual 10-12 week disconnect. When it comes to learning, research shows that 6-7 weeks summer break is sufficient and becoming more desirable by both parents and students.

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