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Year-round education (YRE)
reorganizes the school year to provide more continuous learning by dividing the
long summer vacation into shorter, more frequent breaks. It does not eliminate
the summer vacation, but merely reduces it. Year-round education is an
alternative schedule for learning. Students in a year-round program attend the
same classes and receive the same amount of instruction as students on a
nine-month calendar (usually 180 days), although in a few YRE schools, the
school year has been lengthened. The year-round calendar is organized into
instructional blocks and vacation periods that are evenly distributed across 12
Findings from a study of San Diego (California) elementary schools indicate that students in year-round schools outperformed those in traditional schools in the degree of achievement in reading, language, and math test scores.
Schools in Jefferson County, Colorado abandoned the year-round calendar in 1989 after 13 years of year-round operation in approximately 50 district schools. Despite community protests, half of the district's schools went year-round beginning in 1974 to relieve overcrowding. The district reports no educational improvement or increased test scores. In fact, the decline in test scores in one high school led to decision to return to the traditional calendar. The community passed a $93 million school construction bond six years ago to get rid of year-round school. When the year-round issue threatened again in 1992, the community soundly defeated it, based on past experience. (Jefferson County School District information, 1991)
After operating year-round schools for nine years, Prince William County, Virginia returned to a traditional calendar, basing their decision on little academic improvement, few cost benefits and parent reaction. According to Dr. Mary Weybright, supervisor of programs and planning, "There were not enough advantages to outweigh the disadvantages."
Houston abandoned its first experiment with year-round schools after eight years, concluding the program was extremely expensive, it failed to relieve overcrowding and student achievement did not increase. School officials planned to save $6.9 million by eliminating funding necessary for the program.
In 1972, Romeoville, Illinois, a Chicago suburb, implemented a multi-track program in 16 schools to relieve overcrowding. According to John Lukancic, assistant superintendent of Valley View schools, they abandoned the schedule after eight years because of high operational costs of air conditioning and maintenance, difficulty in filling year-round administrative positions, and scheduling problems at the high school level.
It reduces summer learning loss.
Employment opportunities for high school students are best during the months between May and August.