The benefits of year-round school

Adam Reckamp

By 1870, every state in America had a public school system. A normal school was in session for nine months during the fall, winter and spring and off during the summer. This type of schedule, an agrarian schedule, was designed because America was still an agriculture-based society and many kids had to help out on the family farm over the summer.

Fast-forward 143 years to today. In Huntley we no longer live in a society where farming is a primary occupation for most families.  But we still have the same ineffective school schedule we had over 140 years ago.

When students hear “year-round school,” the common reaction is extremely negative. Most students take the term “year-round” literally and assume they will lose their summer break. This is not true at all. In a typical year-round school schedule, students attend school for nine weeks and then have three weeks off. They repeat this cycle four times and then have an extra four weeks off during the summer.

Students still attend school for 180 days and get the same amount of time off as normal, it is just distributed differently.

There are many advantages to year-round school. One advantage is that due to a shorter break during the summer, students would lose less knowledge over the summer. This would lead to much less review time during class and a lot more time learning and reinforcing new material. This would be especially beneficial to special needs kids who lose a lot more knowledge and skills during the summer than the average kid.

“I think all kids would benefit from year-round schooling. In the summer months when you are not in school your skills obviously regress and it takes about a quarter to recoup those skills. This is especially true for special needs students,” said Karen Aylward, the director of special services in District 158.

The three-week breaks during the school schedule would be great for students who are struggling as they could remediate material they were having trouble with during the school year instead of at its conclusion.

Many students feel like the fourth quarter, with its lack of breaks, is very stressful. By the end of the quarter, many students have already checked out and are looking forward to summer, even with their very important second semester finals coming up. Year-round school would give students more frequent breaks and help them stay focused and refreshed while in school, hopefully improving their learning capabilities and their grades.

One problem with a year-round school schedule would be athletics.

“During the 15 day break, how would students whose parents work get to practice? How would students get to games? Athletically, it would be really hard for students whose parents work to get to practices and games,” said Michelle Jakubowski, the athletic director at Huntley.

While year-round school could be an inconvenience to many athletes, I do no think it would be that big of a deal. Many athletes already have practices during breaks. For example, the basketball teams have practices and tournaments during winter break. Students whose parents work already find ways to get rides during these periods, therefore I do not think year-round school would be that big of a problem for athletes.

A year-round school schedule could also provide families with good times to take vacations while many other districts might still be in school.

This would really help students in America keep up with students around the world as many other countries employ year-round school schedules. According to a global education study done by Pearson, the United States has the 17th best educational system in the world. This is troublesome to most Americans, and the implementation of year-round school schedules with less time spent reviewing and more time learning could lead to America going up in those rankings.