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There are various forms of year-round education. The program consists of several plans including, concept 6, multi tracks, and single tracks. These options allow schools to provide a better working environment for students. Most calendars are designed to split the school year into periods with vacation time, called intersession. One popular plan that has been proven to be successful is the concept 6 program.
Concept 6 plan has been used successfully at both elementary and secondary levels. It is particularly useful when there is lack of space. It requires that students be divided into three groups, with one group always on vacation, thus releasing a considerable amount of space for instructional use. A high school built for 1,600 students can house 2,400 under a Concept 6 three-track plan. It also can be administered in a single-track pattern. The Concept 6 plan calls for six terms of approximately 43 days each. Students attend four of the six terms but must attend two of their four terms consecutively. The plan provides for 160 or more days a year. In states where 175 or more days of attendance are required, additional days can be completed by over-lapping the groups on half-day sessions the first and last day of each term, by independent study and intersession programs, or by creative off-campus group activities. In states that mandate the number of minuets per year in various subjects as a substitute for the number of days, Concept 6 can operate effectively by extending the minuets of instruction each day so that the total accumulation of minutes of instruction each day so that the total accumulation of minutes equals the minimum number of days required by the state. (Ballinger C.E, pp. 23)
Standard multi-track schedules include the 60-20 and 45-15 schedule. Both of these calendars can work in the form of single track scheduling, using multi-tracks school facilities get more use because different groups are in and out of the school, allowing the school to cater to more students. There are benefits for the single track plans.
Experts say that single tracks improve attendance and the students are more attentive (Rasmussen, 2000). The main difference between the two is that during single-track programs all of the students and staff follow the same calendar, where as the multi tracks have several different tracks that students and staff are divided into.
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Benefits of Year-round Education
When first approached with the idea of year-round schooling, students may frown upon it, but there are several advantages. With the extended year it keeps students busy to avoid the summer boredom, while giving them reoccurring breaks. This also helps students stay more focused on their schoolwork. During the summer students tend to forget learned information. Having numerous vacation periods improves student’s attitudes. Student attendance has been proven to increase because students are more refreshed with frequent breaks. It has been proven to decrease student dropout rates with remedial instruction, and allow students to fulfill their graduation requirements with more ease. Teachers benefit from year-round programs as well. (SEDL, 2001)
Teachers who take part in the extended year calendar have the opportunity to have an increased salary. If they wish, they may do additional substitutions and teaching while they are on their vacation period. This is motivation for teachers to work. Another option for teachers is to work during intersessions, which would be equivalent to summer school length. With year-round contracts teaching becomes a fulltime profession in which there is a pay increase, which attracts more interest in the teaching profession. Spending an extended period of time with students allows teachers to become better acquainted with the students and parents. (AASA, 1970, 20) The sporadic breaks throughout the year prevent teachers from burning out due to stress. Without the summer vacation to forget learned information, teachers spend less time reviewing old material. (Inger 1994-12-00) The school programs profit from year-round plans.
One of the major advantages with the extended year is the reduction in overcrowded schools. With the multi-track scheduling the students and staff are divided into groups, which allow certain groups to attend school, while the others are on vacation.
Because students run on different schedules, this eliminates the need for additional schools, saving money. Also, with multi-tracks schools can have a larger enrollment. (Barber, 1996) Having a larger enrollment assures maximum usage of the school facilities. Despite all of the benefits that come with year-round education, there are a few drawbacks.
Arguments Against Year-round Education
Students and parents suffer from some disadvantages from participating in extended year programs. Students who wish to take on summer jobs may find it problematic to schedule around school. Many parents do not wish for their children to work during the school year, therefore a consistent job would be difficult to manage. Another inconvenience of the extended school year is that student’s extracurricular activities could suffer because of scheduling difficulties. Parents also may feel the nuisance of scheduling difficulties. Because their children do not have a full summer break, organizing vacations can be complicated. This problem becomes even more complex when siblings participating in multi-tracks are not on the same plan.
Teachers also experience some disadvantages. Because there are no summer vacations it makes it more difficult for teachers to schedule their vacations. Often the lack of summer break does not give teachers time to further educate themselves. This sometimes leads to a feeling of stress to find substitutes, so they can participate in educational programs. (Palmer, 2001) Administrative conflicts may accompany teacher’s complaints about scheduling. Even when teachers can have a substitute provided, this can disrupt the learning environment of the class. (Ikeda 1972) Another problem is in transition difficulties (e.g., curriculum changes when schools switch from 9-month to year-round, lack of support for teachers on different tracks in adapting to such changes as sharing rooms and storing materials. (SEDL pp.1) Teachers often find it stressful to move from classroom to classroom, when on the multi-track schedule. Keeping themselves organized can take extra time. Also is teachers are involved in extra-curricular activities, their schedules with their vacations may be conflicting with their coaching. (Kneese, 2000)
Within the last seventeen years, year-round education has increased in areas significantly, with a 735% rate over those years. It is believed to continue growing because there is a widespread belief that the year-round program is the best solution to financial, and learning problems. (Ikeda 1972, vi)
The growth continues because parents and educators question the wisdom of using a school calendar that interrupts formal education for three months at a time, is not educationally-sound, and was designed for yesterday's society. Since the chief purpose of schools is to help children learn, continuous instruction in all seasons is a more logical way to educate. Summer learning loss is a reality, known by both experience and research. Year-round reduces the long summer and thus reduces that loss.(Ballinger, 2)
Extended year programs do come with their drawbacks as well. Both families and teachers often find themselves faced with scheduling problems. Some extracurricular activities may suffer, but the amount of positive feedback year-round programs provide, outweigh these disadvantages. In most cases students success rate has increased. These plans can be carried out in a number of different scheduling forms such as the concept 6 plan, 60-20 and 45-15 schedules, in multi or single tracks.
Society is changing, and YRE responds to those changes. The societal changes are many and varied: from an agricultural to an informational, service economy; from mother working at home to mother working outside the home; from summer-only recreational activities to recreational opportunities in all seasons. Year-round education corresponds to today's family circumstances. (Ballinger, pp.2)
Glines. D. (2002). Year-round education. Encyclopedia of Education. (Vol. 7 2nd ed. Pp. 2698-2701)
Description: This encyclopedia gives a description of year-round education. It includes reasoning for these programs, and different track plans.
American Association of School Administrators. (1970). The Year-round School. Washington, D.C. AASA
Description: This book outlines the main points of YRE. It includes facts and approaches to the extended yr. Calendar.
Ballinger, C.E., Kirschenbaum, N., &Poimbeauf, R.P.(1987). The Year-Round School: Where Learning Never Stops. Bloomington, Indiana: Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation.
Description: This book discusses the benefits of year-round education. It goes over the various year-round plans, as well as the Parents and teachers reactions.
Ikeda, C.M (1972). The Implications of Year-round Education for Hawaii’s Public Schools. Hawaii: Legislative Reference Bureau.
Description: This book includes historical reviews of YRE plans, and implications for Hawaii. It also provides readers with surveys and questionnaires.
McCloskey, G. (1973). Year-Round Community Schools: A Framework for Administrative Leadership. Virginia: American Association of School Administrators.
Description: This book states information on reasons why year-round schools are beneficial. It reviews concepts for different programs, as well as calendar-year alternatives.
Ballinger, C. The Growth of Year-round Education. Vital Speeches of the Day, 64, 659.
Description: The article states statistics concerning year-round education. It discusses reasons for further growth and the advantages of year-round programs.
Barber, J. October, 1996. Year-round schooling really works. September 29, 2004, http://cooklibrary.towson.edu/getResourcesBySubject.cfm?subjectID=71
Description: This site thoroughly discusses the 60-20 calendar, and the advantages of year-round education.
Rasmussen, K. 2000, March. Year-round Education. September 29, 2004, http://www.ascd.org/publications/ed_update/200003/rasmussen.html.
Description: The author researches year-round education. In the article she briefly describes what it is and how it will be put into good use. She points out that it does not mean students will be in school for 12 months at a time. She states that it allows schools to hold more students.
Kneese, C. 2000. Eric Digest. Teaching in Year-round Schools, 4.
Description: This author discusses perceived benefits for the school and teachers. It also reviews some of the calendars.
Vanderhooven, K.(1994) Opinions Regarding Year-round Education: A survey among the public.
Chaika, G. 1999, 11, 08. Is Year-round education the Answer. Retrieved November 29, 2004. http://www.education-world.com/a_admin/admin137.shtml
Description: This site informs its readers of the advantages, and disadvantages in using multi-track plans.
Inger, M. 1994-12-00. Eric Digest: Year-round education. Retrieved September 16, 2004, http://www.ericfacility.net/ericdigests/ed378267.htm
Description: In this site the author explains the benefits of year-round education. The author states how the school can hold more students while on the year-round programs. All around the response from parents, students, and teachers is positive.
Palmer, E & Bemis, E. 2001, April 22. Just in Time Research: Children, Youth, and Families. September 29, 2004, from http://www.extension.umn.edu
Description: This site gives an overview of what year-round education is. It explains several year-round programs, and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of the programs.
Ziebarth, T. 1997. Scheduling: Year-round School. Retrieved November 29, 2004. http://www.ecs.org/clearinghouse/14/29/1429.htm