Year-round schooling (YRS) has been present from the 1800s. YRS first appeared in urban areas, because they were not tied to the agriculture cycle. The first towns that implemented YRS were as follows: Chicago, Boston, Washington D.C., Cleveland, Buffalo, and Detroit.
Three types of year round schooling exist: single track, multitrack, and extended year. Most schools are on either a single track or multitrack system; the foremost difference between the two is that single track schedules allow all students to attend school at the same time, while multitrack systems divide students and teachers into various tracks with different instructional times and vacations.
The single track schedule is the most prominent of the three types. These schools do not add additional days to their school year, but instead they incorporate shorter breaks throughout the year. Thus, a single track schedule simply arranges the traditional school year into different school days and break days.
Multitrack multitrack schedule divides students into multiple tracks so that one group goes to school while another group takes vacation. Multitrack schedules reportedly bring many benefits to schools that use them. Some of these schools utilize multiple tracks to aid specific groups of students. Some schools place all grades of bilingual or gifted and talented classes on the same track so that all of these students attend school at the same time.
The extended year schedule can act as either a single track or multitrack, but it adds 15 to 20 days to the total school year.
Several different studies have been conducted to learn more about the attitudes of students who attend year-round schools. The majority of these studies show that students' attitudes towards school did significantly increase as they spent more time on a year-round schedule. Students who attend year-round school say that their calendar is more balanced than their peers who have a typical school calendar.
Students who attend year-round schools typically do as well as or slightly better in school than their peers who attend a traditionally scheduled school.
At-risk students are those who come from a low-income family, have a disability, are of an ethnic minority, or are influenced by something else that may cause them to perform poorly in school. In 1994, a study of three year-round schools showed a substantial gain in academic achievement for at-risk, low performing students. More frequent, short breaks provide struggling students more time for help. These breaks can be used for remedial courses, tutoring, and enrichment, if needed.
Smarter students would have the ability to graduate faster by being enrolled during their vacation times to allow for lessons. Class sizes are reduced, creating better learning environments. Another plus for students is that instead of failing an entire year of school, a student would only fail 45 days on a 45-15 plan, making it so that the student doesn't fall behind as much as a traditional school calendar.
Effect on Teachers and Administration. Studies show that even though around 50% of parents are in favor of the year-round schedule before it is implemented, almost 80% are in favor of it after the first year
. Parents and families are able to still arrange daycare as well as vacations. The year round schedule provides more opportunities for family vacations. This schedule can also save families money because they are able to take vacations during off-peak times. Teachers would also be able to increase their income by teaching days of class on their vacations. Some teachers also favor Year-Round School, because they can have flexible contracts, as in different vacation times.
Communities would save on costs since buildings that normally go unused for 2–3 months of the year would be put to use and old buildings would be closed to save costs. Less text books and equipment would be required, since fewer students would be attending at any point in time. The same idea applies to teachers, being that with fewer students in school fewer teachers are needed for the smaller student population.
Effects on Students. There is research that suggests year-round schools have positive effects on students who are at risk for academic problems, including those from underprivileged backgrounds and those who are poor performers in school.
Many people argue that students get bored during summer vacations, when there is much less activity and stimulation, so attending school for a year would be a benefit to them
. However, many children need a break from school for time to relax and if they have to attend school for an entire year, they will have negative attitudes about learning and their education. Also, many school districts also do not have air conditioning, which can make for difficult learning opportunities.