Some of you may have heard there are rumours that Mississippi schools are thinking about doing year-round school in the near future. So that got me thinking, what are the pros and cons? How do the students feel about it? What about the teachers? Are there any schools that do year-round school? If so, how many? These were my many questions coming into this article. So let’s start answering some of the questions, shall we?
If some of you do not know, year-round school is when we go to school for about nine weeks then we get a three week break after, and we get 6 weeks off for summer. When researching this topic I found that there are approximately 3,181 schools in the US that do year-round schooling, and forty-six out of fifty states have at least one year-round school. In Mississippi, I found that Corinth does year round school, and their schedules look like this,
- First day is July 26th
- September 27 – October 15 is their fall break, and they resume classes on the 18th
- December 20th – January 3rd is their winter break, and on the 4th they resume classes
- March 14th – 25th is their spring break, and they resume classes on the 28th
- Their final day is June 3rd
Next I was wondering how students felt about having year round school at our school! I’ve heard kids talk about it in some of my classes. This led me to think, what do all of them think? So I got a teacher to send a survey out to the entire high school to see what the students thought. After looking at the statistics 67.6% said no they were not in favor of it and 32.4% said they were in favor of it. A lot of students who were in favor of it said that they forgot what they learned the previous year over the summer so they feel like the shorter breaks would be better. Some kids said they liked it because they got to go hunt when they were able to. Families could go on vacation and not have to worry about it being crowded. Others liked the idea of having all the breaks and having time to release stress during the breaks.
Now the students who did not like the idea of this were concerned about how sports would work since sports are year round. Even more students said summer is when they work to make money for college, and there was no way to do that with year round school. One student said they would not be able to hang out with their friends in other schools because of the differences in breaks. Another student sent in a lengthy message about her opinion on year round school, which I will not quote entirely, but I will take quotes out of: “school is the MAIN cause of my anxiety and stress, and I’m sure many other kids will agree. Summer is when students can rest and have vacation and detoxify themselves from school. Summer is relief from a year of stress from things we likely won’t use. Summer allows kids to be free. If school is all-year, it will take up too much of our time. School already is labor eight hours a day. No need to add more. At. All.” This person also talked about how hot it is and how many issues would be caused with it. Also that summer is an important part of a child’s life growing up, which wraps up the student part of the survey. Now for the teachers.
The teachers statistics were about half and half with 56.7% saying no and 44.3% saying yes. Teachers who were in favor of it said, “I am VERY in favor for it. I feel students, parents, and students will benefit from it. Studies continue to show how beneficial it is.” This teacher said, “It gives the teachers and students a much needed break, allows for educators to take their families on vacations when it’s not peak season (so not as expensive).” This and a few other teachers mentioned having the three weeks so failing students can have remediation. The same topics were mentioned multiple times: time for remediation, time to go on vacations, having more breaks so students would hopefully not forget as much, etc. However, the teachers who said ”no” had much different opinions.
This teacher’s response stood out to me the most, “First of all, when the phrase “year round” school is used, many people including teachers and students are against it simply because all they hear is the “year round” part. It, in fact, is just a modified school year. I am for this move and the reason I am for this type of school calendar is that during the 3 weeks in between each 9 weeks, that can be used to do remediation. We have a big gap in student learning and the knowledge that students have or don’t have. We are in a different day and time and it is time to be more innovative… I feel that the modified school year could do this. But, it won’t work if we keep doing the same ole things.” Many teachers also said that summer was their time and that they rather not give that up. Another specific quote from the teachers was this one. “I feel that all schools should have the same calendar. I do not think it is a good idea for schools to operate on different schedules.” That wraps up the teachers.
So when it comes to the idea of year-round school most of the student body and half of the teachers said they do not like the idea of year round school, and when it comes to my opinion I say “no.” I am not for year-round school, while I like the idea of getting more breaks, but I think why change it now. School has been this way for decades so why change it? So that is the school’s opinion on year-round school.