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Would You Support Year-Round School in Your Town?

Even if you don't have children in the school system, is this something your town should consider?

Now that the days are getting longer again, most school aged children in Minnesota can see the bright sun of summer on the horizon.

Yes, the countdown to summer vacation is definitely in full-swing. Well—unless you're a kid who attends a school with a year-round academic calendar.

There are quite of few metro area schools that offer the year-round model, such as Crossroads Elementary in St. Paul and Paideia Academy in Apple Valley—and the model is getting more popular.

According to the Minnesota Department of Administration, a study around 1999 showed that many Minnesota schools began adopting either block scheduling or year-round education calendars to improve overall student achievement. Block scheduling gives teachers and students more time in each class period and focuses students’ attention on fewer classes at a time; year-round education either increases the time students are in school or rearranges school days to make learning more continuous. In addition to improving student performance, other factors, such as reducing costs, have also motivated schools to adopt alternative schedules. However, results are mixed on how beneficial this model is.

You'd think that most kids would be opposed to losing their summers, even though comparable time is given in a year-round school model. However, in a recent post on the Richfield Patch Facebook page, a local mother said her son had many friends who attended schools with year-round schedules and he was even considering approaching the Richfield School Board about making the transition.

So, would you support your school district changing to a year-round academic calendar? Do you think your child would go for it? What benefits or disadvantages do you see with the year-round model? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Laura February 27, 2013 at 04:47 PM
I am so proud that my son brought this up to me and wants to pursue it. We have heard many benefits to year round school. I would love to hear your thoughts!
eleanor mcintosh February 27, 2013 at 06:48 PM
Yes. Among other things, it would eliminate the one or two weeks of "getting back in the groove" again in the fall. Also, there is so much more to learn these days that it is important to have well-educated children.
Jodi Olson February 27, 2013 at 07:38 PM
I would support it. Students loose so much knowledge in the summer- it would be nice to change this. Many other states and countries have year long school and it shows. I also think it would give schools and students more time to prepare for the fall testing that happens. I also feel this would be beneficial because it would allow teachers to teach either more content or allow them to go deeper into topics. There is a movement to take cursive writing out of schools. One argument is because teaching technology takes up so much time and there isn't time for both. If schools were year round this might not be an issue.
Michelle Vaughn February 27, 2013 at 07:51 PM
I would love to have the kids in school year round- even if they had the same number of actual days in school, it would be nice to have the breaks split up more- a month in the winter, spring, and summer. This way they would retain more information between years, I believe.
Laura February 28, 2013 at 04:21 AM
I completely agree, having 3 months off in the summer started when kids needed to be back at the farm to help with the crops. Now they are getting bored which can lead to bad choices.
Steve Nimchuk February 28, 2013 at 12:21 PM
Parents and students will ask for year-round schedules long before teachers do. I was an advisor to Bloomington school district for a dozen years. Most teachers I asked, said having the summer off was why they selected the career.
CIEP February 28, 2013 at 12:57 PM
I like the kids having the summer off. I think the time with family and long vacations is very valuable. Not just school schedules would have to be changed, but team sports schedules, etc that revolve around the school schedule would all be impacted. With kids so overscheduled these days with activities after school and on weekends, the summers off are really needed for them to just be kids! They will be grown ups working year round for the rest of their lives - give the kids the summers off. I work with my kids some over the summer academically so they don't have the "lag" when they start back up. I would hate to see a year round model. Stay with summers off!!
Barry L. February 28, 2013 at 01:56 PM
CIEP....I could not of said it better...Kids need to be kids...Keep it the same...Winters are long enough here in Minnesota...Time to have the kids get out side and enjoy above freezing temps.
Barry L. February 28, 2013 at 01:59 PM
3 Months off...June 7th is the last day and August 26th is the start of the school season for Minneapolis That's only 11 weeks off...to enjoy some sun shine...
Marcia Stellpflug February 28, 2013 at 05:35 PM
I think that forcing kids to be in school all year is at the expense of a valuable opportunity to teach them so many other things that they won't get in school. The opportunity to experience other cultures in travel. The time to learn business and life skills that are not on the radar at school.
Carisa Fegers February 28, 2013 at 06:58 PM
Yes, I would support it! As a FULL TIME mom and working parent, I would at least the option of sending my kids year round. You may want to double check this, but I believe that there is a school in Woodbury that already is year round. It is not for everyone, but change is tough for a lot of people and this would be a big change. What about the option to pay extra (just like what they do with all-day kindergarten) to send your kids year round? FYI - summer school in most districts are reserved only for those students having difficulty and are recommended by their teachers to do additional prep before passing into the next grade. It could be a win/win if they gave the parents the option - give the teachers that do want to work the opportunity to make income year round and give parents the opportunity to have their kids in a school environment versus at a childcare facility/comm ed classes/random activities or with a nanny. Every school district is so different, so maybe I am just partial and are very satisfied with how our schools are run so that makes me more intrigued by the idea....
Ira Gurewitz February 28, 2013 at 10:12 PM
Schools are already parenting kids for nine months out of the year. Summer is time for parents to do three months of parenting. I have heard so many parents say that they are so glad that the kids are back in school, because they need a break from them. Now, imagine how the faculty and staff feels. They need a break from your children as well. As others have mentioned, summer is the time of the year to be able to get outside and enjoy the sunshine, and warm weather. Kids also need jobs for expenses for gas, dates, etc. as well as, some need it to supplement their college tuition. Adults are forgetting how much they looked forward to their summer vacations when they were in school. Now out of their own selfishness, they want to, pardon the expression, dump they children on the teachers. As a school employee, I would love to be able to have some of these parents come work at a high school for at least a month, and see the challenges that teachers and staff have to face each and every day. Then see how excited that they would be to have year round school. Only then will they realize how much school employees need a three month long break from their kids.
Laura March 01, 2013 at 03:07 AM
Wow, that last one made me thrilled to send my kids to school with people who so obviously love what they do. Year round school just means that they would have the same amount of days off, it would just be more spread out throughout the year. In the summer they would still get 6 weeks off which is still a good amount of time to travel and enjoy the summer.
Laura March 01, 2013 at 03:13 AM
As for the parenting, I am my kids parent and I do the parenting of them. Not their teachers. An additional benefit to year round school is that kids tend to retain more information, enjoy school more and do better in their classes and on their tests.
Christine Hirsch March 01, 2013 at 05:01 PM
Seriously?! I have been a school librarian for over 10 years, and I have never heard a teacher state that having the summer off is the reason they went into teaching. A nice benefit, perhaps, but certainly not the main reason! I would be willing to give the year-round school model a try.
Caitlin Burgess (Editor) March 01, 2013 at 05:15 PM
If I were a teacher, while it would be awesome to have all summer off, a year-round school model would allow more opportunities through the vacation schedule. I think its hard for teachers to take off time during the year. This model would give them flexibility throughout the year. (Maybe a winter getaway!) Two cents.
Womanhearmeroar March 03, 2013 at 03:56 AM
I'm torn as I agree with different aspects of both sides. The kids are ready to go back after eight weeks. Six weeks might not be enough, but twelve is too long! I supplement their summers with extra learning and lots of activities/ YMCA camps, etc., so i don't feel my kids lose a ton. They do start getting restless come August, and I usually do pull them for vacation once during the school year. It would be nice to have extra time for vacation at other times during the year, so we would not have to pull them. Most schools do not have air conditioning, which would be a concern. It is bad enough the few weeks on each end where they have to deal with that now. I can't imagine them in school during the real hot part of summer! Any school proposing a year round system better have air conditioning or plan to install it along with covering those added costs. Just something to consider.
Phyllis Frank April 01, 2013 at 03:31 AM
Without hesitation I would support a K-12 school calendar year that has been balanced for efficient, effective, and fair use of district resources to learn, teach, plan, partner, and play on behalf of all students. The 19th century traditional calendar was never meant to be an instructional calendar. Planning for annual measurable, observable, cumulative learning loss for all children, just more apparent for some, is more than enough reason to shorten the summer break to 6-7 weeks and redistribute the vacation/Intersession learning days around the year. The effect is a school calendar year that is more natural to learning and like life - balanced. The opportunity for intervention and enrichment in a timely way around the year begins to address individual learning needs in a preventative model that offers continuous, connected opportunity to learn. Charles Ballinger, former executive director of the National Associaion for Year-Round Education, routinely asked folks to consider: "If year round education were the traditional school calendar, and had been for over 100 years, and if someone were to suggest a "new" calendar whereby students would be exempt from instruction for up to three months at a time, would the American public allow, or even consider, such a scheme?" The US is the only industrialized nation that annually plans to disconnet from students for 10-12 weeks. Have a 21st century school calendar year discussion and compare the frameworks. You will like it!
Mike B. April 01, 2013 at 11:34 AM
I think some of the adults who are pro- year-round school have forgotten what it's like to be a kid. Kids need to be able to play baseball, etc. without adult supervision and organization, trade baseball cards in the summer, ride their bikes wherever they would like, go to the swimming pool, learn arts and crafts, and go on a two- or three-week vacation with their parents. Plus, in this part of the country, there are precious few nice months of weather. Too many kids are growing up in such structured environments nowadays that they won't be able to think for themselves when they grow up. I feel sorry for a lot of the kids who didn't know how fun summers were in the 50s and 60s, and their moms said "just be sure you're home for dinnner."
Phyllis Frank April 01, 2013 at 04:41 PM
With all due respect Mike, because judging by your comments we are approximately the same age, there needs to be balance in play as well. Exposure to four season opportunities to play, explore, and experiment can lead to more creative, insightful endeavors to take back to the classroom at four season Intersession end. Consider this, some occuptations, as in your climate, do not allow for parents to ramble and vacation as the construction field. The wonderful Minnesota summer recreational occupations also limit the time parents can engage..In a balanced academic calendar year we are speaking of integrating the 180 days students are required to attend, parents are required to send and the professional are required to be prepared for in a way that offers equal opportunity for play around the year, continuous school/family/community partnership, and the communiies schools more regularly open wiith access to libaries and technology.Please consider looking at the kids of today, their world, and their families as we dream of their successful tomorrow as they experience the greatest contribution of our society - free and appropriate public education for al children. I am still a kid at heart but I do not want the adults who are planning the education experience for my grandchildren to continue to plan for an annual 10-12 week disconnect. When it comes to learning, research shows that 6-7 weeks summer break is sufficient and becoming more desirable by both parents and students.

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