Early in my career, I worked in a school district with one school that offered year-round schooling. In a brief conversation with the Principal, she explained the benefits of the approach to students and parents. For her students, it minimized summer learning loss, and for her parents, it allowed them to plan more effectively for their families.

According to the California Department of Education (2023), year-round education may positively affect student achievement, especially for disadvantaged students. Why? Shorter, more frequent breaks minimize the loss of information retention during the summer months. Also, there is an increase in enrichment opportunities for students during the breaks.

Traditional school calendars with long summer breaks can contribute to significant learning loss, particularly in core subjects like math and reading. This phenomenon, often called the “summer slide,” disproportionately affects students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

To combat this, some school districts are shifting towards a year-round schooling model, which aims to provide consistent learning opportunities throughout the year without the extended breaks contributing to educational backslide.

So, let’s discuss the benefits of Year-Round Schooling, which offers several advantages:

  • Continuous Learning: By distributing breaks throughout the year, students retain more of their learning and consistently remain engaged with educational content.
  • Reduced Review Time: Teachers typically spend several weeks at the start of the school year reviewing material students have forgotten over the summer. A year-round schedule minimizes the need for lengthy review sessions, allowing more time for new content.
  • Enhanced Opportunities: This schooling model provides opportunities for enrichment activities during inter-sessional periods, which can be used for remediation or enrichment courses, helping students who might need extra help or those who seek advanced challenges.
  • Better Use of Resources: School facilities are utilized more evenly throughout the year, leading to operational efficiencies and better use of educational resources.

The transition to a year-round model requires careful planning and community engagement. School districts must consider potential impacts on family life, teacher contracts, and extracurricular activities.

Effective communication with all stakeholders—parents, educators, and community members—is crucial for a smooth transition. Moreover, districts can look at existing models in other regions for best practices and potential pitfalls to avoid.

“Learning loss is prompting educators to rethink the traditional school calendar, suggesting starting earlier, ending later, and extending breaks for remediation.

-The 74

Year-round schooling represents a proactive approach to addressing summer learning loss. Maintaining a steady educational rhythm throughout the year allows students to enjoy a more continuous learning experience, mitigating the traditional losses seen during long summer breaks.

Do you believe that year-round schooling is an effective measure against summer learning loss?

#EducationalLeader,
Kim

“When students are led well, they learn well.”


The views shared in the Educational Leadership Moment are solely mine and do not reflect the positions of my employer or any entity within the local, state, or federal government sectors.

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Dr. Kim Moore

About the author

I'm Kim, your Educational Leadership Guide. I equip educational leaders with research-based and experientially learned educational leadership principles and best practices to promote student success.


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