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Some Students Benefit From School Year Round; Districts Slow to Change

PBS Newshour: Could Students Benefit From School Year-Round?

A recent segment by Newshour posted on PBS.org looks at a family who moved to Charleston, West Virginia to Beckley (also in West Virginia) two years ago to find that their children would be attending a year-round school at Piedmont Elementary School.

"It sounded to me like the kids were in school constantly, you know, with maybe just three-day weekends here and there," said mom Laura Cooper in the program.

Her husband, Bryan, said that he wanted to stay away from year-round schools. Bryan felt that he would have missed summer and time spent with his friends if he went to such a school and wanted his kids to have a similar summer experience to his.

Soon enough, however, the Coopers adapted well to the change.

Here’s how the schedule works: instead of one extended summer break, the same 180 days of school are divided into 9 week quarters, which are then followed by three week breaks in fall, winter, and spring," said PBS reporter Alison Stewart. "There’s also about a month off for summer. It’s sometimes called a modified or balanced calendar. And here at piedmont elementary school in Charleston, West Virginia, year-round schooling has been the norm for almost 20 years.

Year round schooling allows for less time spent on review, which is seen during the first weeks of a traditional school year. The Piedmont Elementary School system builds in review weeks called intercessions for students who need additional help.

Christine Campbell, President of the American Federation of Teachers for West Virginia, also weighed in on the idea of year round schooling and said:

Sports is a huge thing when you talk about a balanced calendar because if you have one county that is, you know, in the system, they all play each other in their sporting events. So what does that look like when you go from this county to play this county and their calendar is completely different?

Campbell mentioned that the availability of air conditioning and other infrastructure concerns may be prohibiting some schools to switching to a year round system.

Read the full story. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, EducationWorld Contributor

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