Why these schools are adopting year-round schooling
Many schools—even districts—are adopting a year-round school schedule, where a single summer break is replaced by a series of shorter breaks. Even though administrators are adopting year-round schooling, some year-round schools are reverting back to the traditional school calendar.
In North Carolina, Craven County Schools recently adopted a flexible year-round calendar for the 2020-2021 school year due to natural disasters canceling classes over the last decade, reported WNCT. The calendar features built-in weather and PD days, and aligns with local community college calendars, the news outlet reported. Classes will begin closer to the beginning of August and end in May prior to Memorial Day holiday weekend.
In Virginia, Chesterfield County Public Schools approved a traditional school calendar with staggered start days after labor day in addition to year-round schooling for next year, reported WWBT.
The year-round school schedule begins in late July for grades 1 through 5 while kindergarten students with last names starting with A-L will start class a few days earlier than their peers, reported the news outlet. Classes will end after 180 days on June 18 with intercessions in late September, early January, late March and late June.
In South Carolina, Florence 1 Schools will adopt a year-round schedule for the 2020-21 school year, following a January survey where more than 83% of staff and 73% of stakeholders said they preferred the year-round calendar.
Teachers and students will start two weeks earlier than the conventional calendar with intercessions in early October and late March, reported SC Now. The first semester will end prior to winter break.
Meanwhile, Rosa Parks Elementary of Portland Public Schools in Oregon will revert back to a traditional school calendar to align with neighboring schools that Rosa Parks feeds into, reported Oregon Live. The year-round schedule didn’t improve test scores or attendance, district officials told the news outlet. However, some staff, faculty and parents said these numbers reflect the dearth of support the district has offered a neighboring school, where 87% of students are children of color and many of whom qualify for free and reduced lunch.
Pros and cons of year-round school
Experts have mixed opinions about year round school schedules. “Year-round schools typically have higher student and staff attendance than traditional schools, and summer learning loss is minimized,” said Executive Director David Hornak of the National Association for Year-Round Education to District Administration. “The year-round calendar can also provide more remediation opportunities during the year, and prevent staff burnout with more frequent breaks,” added Hornak who is also superintendent of Holt Public Schools in Michigan.
However, year-round classes can be costly to implement, and create difficulties for parents with children attending schools on different schedules, added Tina Bruno, executive director of the Coalition for a Traditional School Year, a group of parents that supports maintaining the 180-day calendar and summer vacations. “The research is just not there to show that this is academically beneficial for our kids.”