FHSD Should Go Year-Round [Opinion]

Summer must be shorter


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By Justin Christensen, North Star Reporter

FHSD ran on a year round schedule as far back as 2010. Nine weeks of school would be followed by three weeks of break, regardless of quarter. The summer break that followed would be four to five weeks long. Now, we have a very long summer break, but with very short fall, winter and spring breaks. While a long summer break is nice, a three week break in between quarters with a shorter summer is a better schedule that would benefit students, teachers and parents.

More benefits from year round school include less stress for teachers  and students, since the longer breaks give them time to relax. Parents would have more opportunities to take their kids on a long vacation. Students that would originally go to summer school would instead be able to receive remediation throughout the school year. According to the Department of Education, schools on a year round schedule may be able to “multitrack”. There would be four groups of students. Three groups would be attending school while the fourth was on vacation, which would increase the capacity by up to 33 percent.

A year round schedule also prevents summer learning loss. The Brookings Institution concluded that a long summer break declined student achievement by one month of school instruction on average, and that instructional loss was greater at higher grade levels. A report by Charles Ballinger showed that scores from schools that had a year round schedule performed better than schools on the traditional schedule.

Even with the benefits of year round school, there are still drawbacks. Scheduling of extracurricular activities would be thrown off unless the entire region was on a year round schedule. Students also would not be able to go to a summer camp or hold a summer job due to the shorter summer break. The multitracking program could potentially see parents with kids going to the same school on different schedules.

Year round school would be worth it, given its benefits of student achievement and decreased stress. It will give parents more chances to take their kids on vacation and let schools enroll more students. The district should consider switching back to year round scheduling to benefit everyone.