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Debating year-round schools vs. traditional-calendar schools

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The debate about year-round schools vs. traditional-calendar schools is back in the media spotlight.

An article today by the Associated Press, includes the Wake County school system in a look at the debate whether year-round schools help with academics. The article also looks at how the year-round calendar is waning in popularity in some districts.

"Year-round schools, which once seemed like a panacea for everything from low test scores to overcrowding, have proven to be a mixed bag," according to the article. "And some places that once embraced them — including Las Vegas, Salt Lake City and parts of California — have returned to traditional calendars."

Historically, one of the arguments for year-round schooling is that it can deal with the problem of "summer slide" when students suffer academic losses over the long summer break.

The article says that research on whether learning improves in year-round schools is mixed, with some year-round schools reporting gains and others finding that kids on traditional schedules do better.

Esther Fusco, a professor at Hofstra University's School of Education, Health and Human Services, says in the article that overall, "research suggests that students in high-needs districts and those who have disabilities do better in year-round learning situations. This is logical because these students do not have the down time that occurs over the summer. But the results are not very significant. I have not seen any study that shows students greatly improve."

The other benefit from year-round schools, at least the multi-track ones, is the capacity gain. This comes, the article notes, with typically higher costs to run year-round schools and challenges making major repairs.

"We definitely use the year-round calendar to maximize space and address some capacity issues," said Wake schools' spokesman Mike Charbonneau in the article. "We have had a rapidly growing school system for the last 10 years."


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YRs and academic achievement - plus... $$$$$

Keung - A very important and enlightening study came out recently concerning YR schools and academic achievement. I've been looking for it, but haven't seen it mentioned, unfortunately. I can't post a link here. Please tell me how to get it "out there" for all to see. Thanks!

Also, for years, I have shared data personally gleaned from WCPSS records that has shown in a detailed breakdown how much money has been wasted because of YR schools, starting back in 2007. Unbelievable! Finally, someone dared to take it seriously (Super. Tata), and some of the problems were taken care of last year.

I'm not familiar with that

I'm not familiar with that study you're talking about.


Should I just send it to you separately?

Just post the link/address as a line of type

we can copy and paste it from there.

I'm off for the next

I'm off for the next two weeks so I'm hoping it can wait.

Mike Charbonneau has no clue what he babbles

Mike, the wcpss might have thought it was "using the year-round calendar to maximize space and address some capacity issues", but they have also covered up the millions that has been wasted operating schools nowhere near capacity, the hardships it created for communities and families, the loss of teachers because of tracks collapsing, the loss of programs and education because of tracks collapsing and under Kevin Hill's command they continue to do so Mike.

As for the "summer slide", all Bull Dung and hype words used to put fear in tax payers to support bonds. Or at least it used to be. This next time around those lies won't work. We've seen the results from the Head/Millberg era of forcing schools to year round when they were not needed.

Get your facts correct before you speak or head on back over to wral and babble there. Parents no longer have time for incorrect information from this school system or its mouthpieces!

Read more here: http://blogs.newsobserver.com/wakeed/debating-year-round-schools-vs-traditional-calendar-schools#comment-form#storylink=cpy 

So true FS, the botched

So true FS, the botched implementation and operation of MYR schools in WCPSS cost parents and Wake dearly in more than just monetary ways.  Even through all those mandated changes YR is not popular enough to keep 4 tracks open and full to run on an operationally sound basis hence collapsed tracks and teacher and classroom chaos.  During the campaign, Mrs. Evans said she planned to fill the YR schools.  Look for her to mandate her own node to YR schools (not).  There are plenty of voters that support Voluntary year round schools but the new BOE members seem more than willing to impose their assignment decisions on parents and voila--no choice any more. 

Evans has zero control to fill YR schools

so once again another falsehood pointed out about Evans.

Thanks for reminding us Dr.!

Just realized who the WCPSS

Just realized who the WCPSS spokesperson is now. Is Mike still on WRAL also? It doesn't seem anyone high up last to long in WCPSS..

Modified calendar available in ES,MS, and HS

Law disallows wcpss to utilize the modified calendar, which would allow for a near-perfect calendar for Elementary, Middle, and High School students.

The issue that keeps year round from gaining popularity is the walls that keep us from evolving. Modified calendar is 9 weeks in session followed by 2 weeks off. You alo get two months of summer break ( out Memorial weekend and rerun the end of July)

If we get our law change so our school system can get more creative in our calendar choices we could utilze more options such as this calendar. Once our growth catches up the answer is not to throw aside year round but simply keep these options and add more- find what is most beneficial to learning and what also works for families.

Simply reverting back to traditional calendar is what happens many times in school districts accross the country once growth subsides. This is not evolving. Modified calendar is worth fighting for in WCPSS. Although it is something we must work on the legislative level to change the law. Right wcpss is prohibited from starting school before Aug.25. Why?

Because the tourism industry fought very hard b/c  they felt their profits should be protected. Vacation can happen anytime. I'm not sure we all should be forced to go on vacation at peak periods when the prices are highest. And I'm not sure this is in the best interest of children.

only works if entire feeder is YR

This only works if a feeder pattern (Elementary, Middle, and High) is all YR.  Otherwise families suffer by having kids on multiple schedules.


Uh, that's what the holey choice plan did.

No it did not

all of my "choices" were YR elementary schools. 

You should have had at least

You should have had at least 2 traditional elems on your choice list.

far distant "choice"

they were far distant schools and did not feed into wakefield middle...so they were false choices at best.  only had YR "choices" for wakefield middle. 

You're at Brassfield, right?

You're at Brassfield, right? And wanted to feed to Wakefield Middle? So you would have been on a split schedule even under the old plan.

My neighborhood has the same problem as yours when it comes to traditional. All of our closest elem schools are year round so the trad options are farther away. Only one of ours led to Wakefield and the other went to West Mill and then Sanderson.

it is hard - with all elem choices being YR and middle is trad

Jenman, yes you were in the same predicament.  They gave us lots of false choice under the guise of offering a "choice" plan. 

But you did hear that it's going to change

didn't you?

Hang in there,

you'll only have one year of worry.


Both the YR choices that feed into Wakefield Middle were on the traditional calendar pre-MYR. Did you care that they were converted?


sideburns - what is your point please


I am not sure  that I understand your point.  I have never been a fan of MYR.  I fought against it when it was first initiated...so yes, I did care.


The tradt'l calendar choices aren't as proximate as you would like because of the YR conversions. That doesn't mean they aren't real choices or that it is a problem created by the choice plan.

What's your line in the sand, sam? Proximity, feeder pattern, choice, stability? You can't just complain everything is a hole. Well, you apparently can.

Good point

Maybe that was considered a partial hole!

The traditional calendar

The traditional calendar schools fell through the holes...


'In Wake County, N.C., where 50 public schools are on the year-round system, "we definitely use the year-round calendar to maximize space and address some capacity issues," said spokesman Mike Charbonneau. "We have had a rapidly growing school system for the last 10 years."'

How many WCPSS YR schools have all 4 tracks filled?  I don't believe very many of our YR schools hold many more kids than if they were on a traditional calendar.

Keung, do you know?

I think Loriac has a good question... How many WCPSS YR schools have all 4 tracks filled? Or all 4 tracks at above 90% full? And I don't mean the school capacity as measured against the traditional calendar ( where a 500 student trad calendar school is said to have 625 student spaces in YR and therefore be at 125% capacity). Im looking for a document that says we are a 500 capacity school and we have 520 kids in track 1, 480 in track 2, and so on.

Very few

have all 4 tracks filled.  Heck, my bet, none!

A better question?

How many continue to cost us more to operate now than they did before that previous, previous board mandated them to year round?

he said he's off now for two weeks (Keung)

you could try Mr. Haydon with WCPSS.....although that could take longer than two weeks as well.

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About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.