Friday, January 25, 2013

Year-Round School

When I look back to my childhood, most of my memories come straight from summertime. I remember going to the lake with my family, barbecues with my friends, playing in every backyard with my neighborhood friends, summer camps, cheerleading camps, and not having a worry in the world. This is why I decided to look further into the idea of younger generations facing year-round school. The idea of taking away a child’s summer struck me as a form of robbery. Seeing as the Chicago Public School system has embraced a multi-track approach to education, there was no better place to start my research with CPS

The “Track E” schools run on a year-round calendar and currently make up about one third of CPS. The original goal of creating a multi-track system in Chicago was to increase the attendance, provide a safe environment, and prevent learning loss which would essentially lead to higher test scores. Track E schools have seen an 88.1% increase in attendance in 2011 on top of an 86.8% increase the in 2010 (Source). With such high results in an important aspect of school, like attendance, I started to see the power of year-round education. In looking further into the benefits of this calendar style, I have seen arguments which state that the calendar was also providing teachers with more time to teach and go over their lessons, which lessens the amount of stress for both the teacher and student when trying to properly reach their education goals. Students also are learning in a more relaxed environment, which prompts them to become involved in more extra-curricular activities. I am seeing a large amount of benefits that come along with adapting a year-round calendar, which has strongly swayed my initial opinion on the subject.

Track E School- Photo from

Benefits aside, I am not fully convinced that a year-round school system is a better option as compared to the Track R, or regular, school calendar. It is obvious that the cost of maintenance costs will increase, at an estimate of at least 10%. Along with the maintenance cost increase, it is most likely that adapting to a year-round calendar will increase taxation and tuition to help cover these costs. Also, as I first mentioned, students will miss out on the social benefits of having a summer. These are two extremely important factors when it comes to deciding to take the turn to a year-round calendar.

The conflicting opinions, experiences, and resistance to change have revealed themselves in every article, blog, and school who has taken a look into the idea of converting to a year-round calendar. We would like to see what you, our readers, have to say. What are your opinions? Do you have experience with the Track E calendar? Please, enlighten us with your thoughts as we want to know your voice. 

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