The Benefits of Year Round Education and Extended School Days

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Year round education (YRE) is implemented in 436 U.S. school districts with very few complaints. In fact, school districts that have been participating in YRE and extended school days (ESD) are raving about the benefits in pupil's achievement level, their new found enthusiasm in learning, as well as the many programs that exist in the extended day promoting the decline in latch key children.

Some schools decided to initiate YRE and ESD because of swelling enrollments and lack of student achievement. There were many issues raised when deciding if YRE and ESD were a step in the right direction. For one, we are all creatures of habit, and to implement a new school schedule would mean extensive changes. Second, how would this effect the taxpayer's dollar? Is the proposal cost efficient?

For year round education and extended school day to work the community (to which the proposal apply) must be for the change. Therefore, providing extensive positive literature, newsletters, and constantly keeping the community updated on all aspects of the program's benefits will help ensure success of YRE and ESD.

The traditional nine month academic year originated in an agrarian period when the long summer months were used for children to assist their family in farm tasks. However, the nine-month calendar is far from being sensitive to the current industrialized world we live in today. Fathers as well as Mothers are most likely in an office from nine in the morning to five in the evening leaving an extensive, unsupervised time during the day. Children go home to empty houses, are told not to answer the door, and when the phone rings they are prompted to say that Mom or Dad is in the shower.

Children under utilize long summer months. During this time children have little to do but spend countless hours watching television, roaming the streets, and hanging out on sidewalks seeking out entertainment. This can not be a productive situation and could lead to dangerous activities due to boredom. Furthermore, during these under utilized months most children tend to loose information taught from the previous school year. This can be an increasing problem for at-risk students who are usually lacking in the socioeconomic status (SES), originate from foreign speaking countries, and the learning disabled.

Year Round Education and ESD will give teachers more contact time with these students and help at-risk children retain information, as well as help foreign speaking students retain the English language. By keeping the child in school on a year round schedule or ESD students will be less likely to loose information due to a long summer recess and have more time in a learning environment, therefore, enriching the child's learning abilities.

There are different types of YRE and ESD schedules. The most popular schedule is single-track and is usually implemented for the purpose of academic improvements. On a single-track schedule children attend school year round with frequent intersessions or breaks. Typical schedules might be 90-30, 60-20, or 45-15 where the first number indicates days of instruction and the second, days of vacations (Opheim, Mohahjer, Read, 1996). There is also a multi-track schedule, which is known to be more cost efficient. This schedule is often implemented when the school is overcrowded, in poor neighborhoods, as well as in inner-city schools. On a multi-track schedule students schedules are consistent with the single-track 90-30, 60-20, or 45-15, however, students are assigned to one of the several tracks which are staggered therefore, no one group of students has the same intersession at the same time. By staggering attendance schedules, class size is deducted. Studies have concluded that decreased class size promotes more efficient learning.

During an intersession children can spend time with their families or take advantage of enrichment programs, which are offered, at the school....
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