Having such long breaks over the summer is a thing of the past. They were originally intended to give students a break during the hotter months of the year in order to combat problems like heat exhaustion. However, almost every school now has central cooling, so why have more schools not adopted a year-round schedule?
Asking the question will produce a rather negative reaction from your typical student, which is completely reasonable. This is because they hear this as “no summer break,” when in reality it would mean more breaks spread out across the entire year. When it is explained to students that they would still only spend 180 days in school every year, they are more open to the idea.
The most common form of year-round school is the 45-15 plan. Just like the name implies, students would attend school for 45 days, then get 15 off. It does not necessarily have to be laid out like this; the school district can arrange it in any way they see fit.
The benefits of switching to a year-round system are unbelievable. Starting with the educational benefits, students tend to lose months of information every summer. With a year-round schedule, there would not be long gaps where students’ brains are not worked. This will cut down on wasted classroom time at the start of every year. This also helps free up a teacher’s schedule, which they can now revise every 45 days as opposed to every nine months.
Moreover, being a student or teacher is extremely stressful. With more frequent breaks, everyone can have time to relax. This not only benefits the students’ ability to learn, but also the teachers’ ability to teach. This would lead to better grades and test scores, which would mean less remediation. Students who still require remediation can now be managed proactively. Currently, they would have to attend summer school, but this can now be done every 45 days.
We are in a rather privileged position where our parents do not have to worry about our well-being over the summer. This is mentioned because in underprivileged areas, summers have the potential to be dangerous. With so much unscheduled time on their hands, underprivileged students may be subjected to crime and other negative influences, which are negated when they are at school or participating in extracurricular activities.
However, year-round schooling is not perfect. A major problem is the extra strain put on the custodial and cafeteria staff. They would be required to work the entire year with a sub-par pay. They can no longer make this money up over the summer in the form of another job.
Other issues would arise if the entire district did not move over to this system. It would become a mess. It would have to be changed at all grade levels. This would be incredibly difficult to implement, not only requiring a lot of time to plan out, but a lot of money and work.
Some parents believe that there are lessons to be taught and work to be done over the summer. They can learn these lessons through work with the family, working a summer job, or a summer camp. Although I see the potential benefit, I believe that this is an old-fashioned way of looking at things. Over the summer, most kids are not helping out on the family farm. They should be focusing on their education and should not be hindered by back breaking labor in order to learn life lessons.
Ultimately, introducing a year-round schedule coupled with other implementations, like a later start time, could lead to a greatly improved learning environment. These improvements could be seen in better grades and test scores to improved student behavior.
Something that I have been taught during my time as a student in District 158 is that you should lead by example. I believe that it is time for District 158 to lead by example and take a year-round schedule into consideration, not only for the betterment of their students, but for the betterment of students all over the country.