I’m sure I’m not the only student who starts losing focus this time of year. As summer approaches, many of us have more and more trouble staying motivated, and we can’t wait to throw out our books and stop thinking about school. Fast-forward a few months, and we’ve forgotten most of what we learned the year before. There has to be a better way to learn, and I believe year-round school is the perfect solution.
More than 3,000 schools in the U.S. already follow a year-round schedule, and 47 out of our 50 states have at least one year-round school. These schools usually are in session for 45 days followed by a 15-day break. The breaks are long enough for students to recharge but not so long that they lose many of the gains of the previous academic period.
In a traditional school schedule, the “summer slide,” where students forget what they learned the previous year, is a real problem. According to a study by the nonprofit academic research organization NWEA, students can lose up to 50 percent of their gains in math and reading over the summer. Even worse, the loss of learning tends to be higher for students from low-income families. Teachers may spend the first month of the new school year reviewing material, but it may be impossible for students who fall behind each summer to ever catch up. Year-round school eliminates the danger of the summer slide.
Fans of an extended summer break contend that attending a year-round school would mean missing out on fun experiences like going to camp or having a job or internship. But the only reason many of these experiences take place during the summer is because that’s when most teens are out of school. The more year-round school becomes the norm, the more options there will be for students throughout the year.
And let’s be honest—how many teens actually spend their summer break doing one thing? A lot of us go to camp or on a trip for a few weeks, then spend the rest of the summer sitting around feeling bored. In year-round school, the frequent breaks let you have a lot of experiences, without those experiences coming at the cost of your education.