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year-round schooling

Schools Without Summer Break: An In-Depth Look at Year-Round Schooling

For many K-12 students across the country, springtime marks the end of the school year. But the semester’s just heating up for students in more than 3,000 schools in the United States that operate under a year-round school system.

Fast Facts on Year-Round Education

Statistic Value
Statistic Number of year-round schools in the United States
Value 3,181
Statistic Percentage of public school students attending year-round schools
Value 10%
Statistic Average dropout rate for year-round schools
Value 2%
Statistic Number of states that have year-round education
Value 46 states

Data Source: Year-Round School Statistics – Statistic Brain

History of Year-Round Schooling

Year-round education (YRE) isn’t a new fad—it actually has a long history dating back to the 1800s. It was originally used in northern industrial cities to teach English to children of immigrants. However, by the early 1900s, it was used to combat issues like overcrowding and underfunding, two topics that are still relevant today.

In 1904, Bluffton, Ind., became a pioneer in year-round education when it incorporated a four-quarter schedule into one of its schools. Soon, extended school calendars started to spread across the United States, but World War II halted the movement because students were sent to farms and factories to work during the summer in order to help the war effort.

It wasn’t until the 1960s that the idea of year-round education was revived when Park Elementary School in Hayward, Calif., became the first to implement the system since before World War II. Today, Park Elementary remains the longest-running YRE program in the United States.

In a Niche survey of more than 800 users, the results show that class start dates are pretty varied in the United States today.


Year-Round Calendar Plans

Often, year-round schooling is a reorganization of a “normal” school schedule. Here are a few of the different plans:

  • 45-15 plan (45 days on/15 days off)
  • 60-20 plan (60 days on/20 days off)
  • 90-30 plan (90 days on/30 days off)

When it comes to YRE schedules, there are single tracks and multitracks. A single track is a year-round calendar where all of the students and staff are in school or on vacation at the same time. A multitrack puts the students and staff on different tracks. For example, three tracks of people could be at school, while the fourth track is on vacation. Multitracks are mostly beneficial to schools that lack seating capacity and resources for students, allowing them to take on more students than they may be actually able to accommodate.

Pros and Cons of All-Year Schools

Pro Con
Pro Increased school building capacity
Con Extracurricular scheduling conflicts, disruptive breaks
Pro Enhances continuity and pacing of instruction
Con Inconclusive academic benefits
Pro More vacation options for students and staff
Con Depending on district, parents could have children on multiple schedules
Pro Helps keep students' brains more refreshed
Con Students can't take on summer camps or temporary jobs, which can be valuable learning experiences
Pro Helps the less-privileged (since well-off children can get ahead with tutors and academic camps in the summer)
Con Year-round buses, lunches, and programs cost more

The Bottom Line

Year-round schooling can be beneficial for certain schools, especially those that are over capacity and need to accommodate more students. On the other hand, this plan can also be expensive. In 2014, Columbus City Schools switched two of its YRE institutions back to traditional calendars because it became too costly. When making the switch to year-round schooling, many schools have to take a lot of situations like these into consideration.

Author: Niche

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