For years, there has been a debate about the merit of year-round schooling.  Research into the effectiveness of year-round education on academic achievement has been largely inconclusive.  Some studies suggest that year-round education (YRE) can improve standardized test results.  Yet, other studies have a difficult time showing a correlation between YRE and academic achievement.  So, this begs the question, is year-round schooling a good idea?  This article examines potential benefits of a year-round school schedule.

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Balanced vs. Unbalanced
One of the major reasons proponents of YRE are in favor of the year-round school schedule is because a year-round school schedule can provide a more fluid educational experience.  A key premise of YRE is the balanced school schedule.  In a traditional school schedule, there are a few planned breaks during the school year (namely Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Spring breaks) that are interspersed between long stretches of academic time.  These academic times typically have different lengths.  They usually consist of long stretches with no breaks plus the huge break during the summer. [4412]

Keep Going and Going
A typical balanced schedule provides for an even number of academic days with evenly spaced break times in between.  Due to the increase in the number of breaks throughout the school year, the summer break is shortened from two and half months down to one month.  This balanced calendar with a shortened summer break provides some advantages.  One advantage is the shortened summer break in itself.  On the surface, this may not seem like a huge advantage.  However, the shortened summer break would help fight the annual summer “brain drain”.  Instead of the characteristic two and a half month break, the students would have only one month.  Therefore, there is less time for students to forget the lessons learned from the previous year.  This can be a huge advantage because teachers don’t have to spend as much time each year reviewing lessons and concepts from the previous year.  This also gives the students a more continuous experience.

The year-round school model also provides an opportunity for educators and schools to provide struggling students with resources and help in more frequent intervals.[4414]  For example, if a student struggles in math during the first quarter of the school year, the school can offer remediation and tutoring during the break after that quarter has ended.  Therefore, the student isn’t pushed into higher levels of content without some effort to help them master skills and concepts they didn’t do well on during the quarter.  YRE allows educators more opportunities to fill in gaps more often than a traditional school schedule.

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Family Time
Finally, YRE schedules allow families more flexibility when it comes to vacations and family times.  With multiple breaks throughout the course of the school year, families aren’t restricted to taking trips only at Christmas or Summer time.  A YRE calendar is more closely related to the traditional work calendar, so it provides a family with more opportunities for travel and activities throughout the course of the year.

Things to Consider
There are many potential benefits of year-round schooling.  Not only can it provide more continuity in the student’s educational experience, but YRE offers more opportunities for student development and family activities and vacations.  School districts across the country should take a serious look at providing YRE to their students.  If school systems are truly interested in achieving district (not to mention nationwide) success, all the options must be explored.