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YEAR-ROUND EDUCATION

Year-round education (YRE) has many names: Year-round school, alternative calendar, extended school year, modified school year, and many more. YRE is a school schedule that differs from the traditional school schedule that has, more or less, a three month long summer break, and two smaller breaks for winter and spring. "YRE centers on reorganizing the school year to provide more continuous learning by breaking up the long summer vacation into shorter, more frequent vacations throughout the year." (Speck, n.d.) Students in YRE schools are not in school any more than other students, and YRE does not completely eliminate summer vacation, it just shortens it significantly. The new schedule has come to be very controversial. Advocates of YRE believe that it minimizes the learning loss that typically occurs during summer vacation, and thus saves a lot of time in the school year because there does not have to be such an extensive reviewing process when school starts back up. YRE also helps with the overcrowding in schools and finance. Those who oppose YRE believe that students need summer vacation. It is a tradition, a time for family vacation, summer jobs, and a break from school. They also say that research has not proven students to benefit from YRE, but has instead been inconclusive. The purpose of this paper is to explore the advantages and disadvantages to the varied structures of year-round schooling.The traditional school calendar had been in effect for more than a century. By the middle of the nineteenth century, rural area school years lasted for five to six months, based on the harvest schedule. In contrast, many schools in urban areas were open for eleven or twelve months. A uniform calendar was established in 1847 which is the traditional calendar of today. (Sheields, 2000) There was resistance to this calendar from the beginning, because people in urban areas had to go to school for much longer to receive the same education. YRE began in a premature form in 1904 in Bluffton, Indiana with a four-quarter schedule. (Speck, n.d.) YRE began to be popular in states like Texas, New Jersey, North Dakota, Nebraska, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania. It ceased during WWII because national uniformity was felt to be essential to the war effort. Hayward, California implemented at official YRE programs at Park Elementary School in 1968 to become the first YRE School after WWII. (Speck n.d.) YRE schools began to sprout up all over the country after that. In 1969 the first multiple tract school was established in Missouri. Since the late 70's YRE has picked up in popularity and is a continuing trend. According to the National Association for Year-Round Education, more than 2 million students attend close to 3,000 year-round schools in 41 states and 610 school districts, which is a dramatic increase compared to the early 1990's. There have been a variety of YRE schedules and currently there is a choice, single or multi-track, options within both of these, and an extended school year.

Single-track YRE is simply the reorganization of vacation time. Summer break is broken up and distributed to make a more continuous period of instruction. All students and teachers follow the same schedule, and the rescheduled vacation is inte throughout the school year into periods called intercessions. Intercessions are "usually utilized as instructional time for remediation and enrichment with both single and multi-track calendars. Intercessions typically involve school staff and community resources to provide a safety net and an academic boost to avoid failure or enhance achievement." (Speck, n.d.) Instead of students waiting for summer to catch up, intercessions stop them from getting so far behind.

There are many advantages to single-track calendar. By eliminating the traditional summer break, students are not given the opportunity to forget the information they have learned, and while in a traditional calendar the first few weeks of the school year are typically review. Studies show that disadvantaged students lose more knowledge over the long summer break than regular students, so YRE is even more beneficial for them. (Ballinger, 1998) Also, YRE was found to facilitate extracurricular activities and employment. (Sheilds, 2000) Not all students are seeking employment at the same time, and extra curricular and academic obligations seem to interfere less with employment. There are studies which show that students in YRE have more motivation, as well as parents and teachers. Accordingly, there is less of a dropout rate and higher moral. (Ward & Phillip, 2000) Teachers and administrators benefit from many of the same things that students do, so according to Michael Ward and Phillip Kirk, they too experience higher moral and a better overall experience.

The debate surrounding YRE generally focuses on five broad categories: professional staffing and development, administrative

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