Year Round School System Education Essay

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A school which provides education year-round is more beneficial to students' education, teachers, and the school itself, as opposed to a school with a traditional nine-month calendar and three-month summer vacation. Year-round schools benefit students by providing them with continuous instruction all year and allowing for smaller class sizes, and therefore more individual attention for each student. In a nine-month calendar school, the learning must be fit into one period of time with no breaks, and class sizes are larger, which means less focus on each student in class. Year-round schools are a great opportunity for teachers who want a more flexible schedule and a better work environment, with less stress and higher morale overall. Traditional nine-month schools have rigid schedules with less opportunity for adjustment, and teachers also exhibit higher stress. Lastly, year-round education betters the school by creating a happier environment for learning and providing more money for teachers and classroom materials. A nine-month school operates on a tighter budget and breaks throughout the year do not occur often enough for optimal relaxation. The nine-month calendar is not a viable choice when compared with a year-round calendar in terms of education for students, teacher satisfaction, and advantages for the school.

One important way in which a year-round school is superior to a traditional nine-month calendar school is in the education of the students. In a year-round school, the quality of instruction is higher for several reasons. The students learn continually throughout the year without overly long breaks. The more focused learning environment when school is in session allows for more in-depth studying, which means higher retention. Minimal review time is needed due to the absence of a wide gap between school sessions, so more material can be covered over the course of a year. "[Students] do not have the generous summer break to forget all that they have learned, so […] this scheduling format is conducive to learning." (Lit 4) Time can be saved by returning to school after a short break with the material fresh in the students' minds. "Research has demonstrated that … shorter vacation periods reduce summer learning loss." (Cooper 1)

In a nine-month school, the quality of instruction is found to be lower in many cases. The American school system was created to coincide with the seasons of crop growth, but the gradual shift of the nation's economy from agriculture to industry has created a desperate need for a change in the way schools operate. "The September to June calendar year is viewed as antiquated , given that the economy is no longer based on agriculture and that children are no longer essential for planting and harvesting farms. (Lyttle 2 {Orellana} ) Education is packed into nine months of the year, with the other three months devoid of any educational stimulus. Reception of the material learned while school is in session is therefore unbalanced and uneven.

Throughout the long three-month vacation, many students forget what they have learned. "They [students] haven't retained information learned, and school rules have to be reviewed." (Carlyn Reed, Reading Specialist, from a personal interview) A study shows that during the summer, students lose a month of the progress they have made in mathematics. (Cooper 1) Information which has been forgotten by students must be re-learned, taking up valuable class time.

The loss of information is especially pronounced among families with low income rates. Their children do not have nearly as much access to summertime stimuli as do the children of wealthier families. A gap between children of different economic statuses has developed, and as students grow older, this gap only widens. (Alexander, Entwisle, Olson 1) "By ninth grade, summer learning loss could be blamed for roughly two-thirds of the achievement gap separating income groups." (Von Drehle, 2)

Another large difference for students in the two schools is the enrollment in each school. A year-round school normally has a system of tracks for classes. The tracks are in session at different times so that a greater number of students can attend one school without having larger class sizes. (Kneese 1-2) Smaller class sizes create an optimal student-to-teacher ratio, which allows for more individualized instruction for each student. Higher enrollment in year-round schools due to separate tracks provides for more money which does not need to be spent on building extra classrooms. "…. the chief reason for converting to YRE (year-round education) is to avoid the cost of building a new school." (Inger 2) Instead it can be used for hiring the best teachers and providing students with top-quality learning materials.

A traditional nine-month school's enrollment is not as beneficial for students as that of a year-round school. At a nine-month calendar school, all students attend classes at the same time. Not only are the schools more crowded, but class sizes are larger. Students receive less individual attention during class time, and those with learning disabilities may be overlooked, prolonging a dangerous problem until it is too late to help.

Year-round schools have perhaps the most advantage over nine-month schools in terms of benefits for teachers. One of the differences between the two schools is the flexibility of work schedules for teachers. In a year-round school, teachers have the ability to adjust schedules extensively according to how much they want to work. If a teacher wants to work full-time, he or she can teach two different tracks of classes throughout the year. They can also oversee intersessions, which are less formal or academic classes, in between school periods for additional salary. Teachers who desire only a part-time job can teach just one track, allowing more time for a personal life.

In a nine-month school, teachers work according to a rigid schedule. Most teachers experience little to no flexibility in choosing what hours they teach. In general, these schools are open for seven hours a day, five days a week. Teachers in nine-month schools also cannot change or adapt their schedules to work full-time, so some must turn to other jobs for additional pay.

Another difference between the two schools is the work environment. In a year-round school the environment is optimal for teachers. They have less stress overall because full-time teaching jobs are enough to earn their desired salary. They also enjoy breaks often, which provide needed periods of relaxation regularly throughout the school year. Coming back to school, the teachers feel refreshed and ready to teach again. Morale is also shown to be higher in year-round schools. "The majority of teachers report less stress and burnout in year-round schools." (Kneese 4)

The work environment has a positive effect on the attitude of instructors. Teachers have few recorded absences because they enjoy being at school. They don't come down with sicknesses as often because they have time off every nine weeks or so to rest. A survey of teachers who work in year-round schools showed that they prefer year-round education as an overall educational style. One can also observe improved morale and motivation of teachers. "The results of the research were significantly in favor of year-round schools… The studies [showed] boosted teacher morale." (Lyttle 4)

In a nine-month calendar school, the occupation of teaching can be incredibly stressful. Teachers who don't earn enough money solely through their teaching career sometimes choose to work at another part-time job to make up for it, creating added stress in their lives. Working an additional job while also teaching a class can take the teacher's focus away from the classroom. The stress of working two jobs may affect the teaching ability of these teachers. Another cause of anxiety for teachers are the nine months of school, which do not end for more than two weeks at a time. Constant teaching without breaks in between causes stress which builds up over time, and is only relieved during the summertime.

The last major difference between a year-round school and a regular nine-month school is the education which each school can provide to its student body. A year-round school can provide a superior education for its students. For instance, the larger enrollment, which is made possible by the usage of separate class tracks, provides more money for benefitting the school. This money can mean that teachers of a higher caliber are hired. The purchase of new high-quality learning materials, such as books or art supplies, is provided for.

The learning environment is also found to be more positive, in general, in a year-round school. Everyone at the school exhibits less stress largely because learning is broken up into scheduled segments. Frequent breaks or 'vacations' energize the student body and prepare them to return to school refreshed, focused, and prepared to take in more information.

In one year-round school - "The children attend regular classes for nine weeks. Then they have a two-week break, or intersession, in October. Then they have nine more weeks of school, winter break, and then a week of intersession in January. Nine more weeks of school, then a two-week intersession. […] Summer break lasts five or six weeks, rather than the traditional 10." (Schulte, 2) There are also less instances of 'burnout' as a result of taking breaks regularly. This means that students and teachers are more focused on the task at hand - learning - and the process of education can be accomplished more easily.

In a nine-month school, education is generally of a lower quality for several reasons. Only a limited amount of students can attend a nine-month school at a time, so enrollment is restricted to a certain degree. Lower enrollment (compared to year-round schools) results in a lower budget for the school's maintenance. This lower budget does not provide funds for the high-quality staff and materials that any excellent school should find mandatory.

A negative environment is also created within a nine-month school. Stress is put on the students and teachers to cover all the information required on a specific subject in nine consecutive months. Many students experience burnout because there are not enough breaks from learning to truly take in the information properly. Stress can build up and cause harm to students' educations and to their permanent attitude towards school.

Year-round schools are more beneficial to the school system for several reasons. The year-round school is a benefit to students by making their education continuous and allowing for more individualized attention to each student, whereas the nine-month calendar has a lull in education during the summer and schools are more crowded, meaning each student receives less individual instruction and help. A difference between the two schools concerning teachers is that in a year-round school, teachers have more options to change their schedule, whereas nine-month schools employ rigid schedules and therefore teachers are under more stress. A final difference is the overall effect on the school, which in year-round schools is a relaxed but focused environment, but in a nine-month school, a more stressful environment is created.

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