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Is Year-Round School Better For Students?

June 23 2011 | 11 comments

About 3000 schools in the United States operate on a year-round basis.  In most cases that means students get several shorter breaks during the year instead of 10 weeks off in the summer.

Supporters point to research that shows students on traditional school schedules lose about a month of learning over the summer, which means teachers have to spend a month or more reviewing in the fall instead of moving on to new material.   Research also shows that lower income students lose even more ground — losing as much as three months of progress in reading comprehension over the summer vacation.  A lack of access to enrichment activities during the break may be partly responsible for this summer slip.

Students at the new University Prep Science & Math High School on Detroit’s near east side are attending classes year round.  The middle school will adopt a year- round program next fall.  The schedule will basically be three months in school followed by a 4-5 week break in April, August and December.  The number of instruction days will be about the same as on a traditional schedule.

Click here for more information on University Prep Science & Math and their year-round schedule.

Click here to see the interview with Margaret Trimer-Hartley, superintendent of University Prep Science & Math.



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  1. Maria June 23, 2011

    Let me first just say that if you had to air this segment, why not have someone who is actually FAMILAR with our school systems here in Michigan? You bring in a woman from sunny California who needs to get her facts straight. Our school systems here DO attend school for more than 180 days.

    She brought up how air conditioning and heating are easy to keep going all year around in California, but this is Michigan!!! I can tell you from experience, our high schools here rarely have their air conditioning properly working! Most of the time students suffer from sick building syndrome in the warmer temperatures.

    School all year around wouldn’t benefit Michigan as we live and depend on tourism, and yet she did not even say that! All is she talked about was California! I am truly appalud with people not understanding that children need a break, like summer. They say that it will better their futures, however, I don’t think people realize the pressures of school now a days. The classes are much harder and the pressure is MUCH greater! But naturally we have to compete with other countries like Japan and “better ourselves”. How about focusing on getting the economy back on track instead of discussing keeping schools open all year around and costing the school systems more!

    Lastly, next time you discuss this topic please get someone from Michigan! Not some random woman from California who is able to say that her school system has no problems keeping her school open all year around. We need the correct facts and this woman did not have any.


    Detroit 2020 Reply:

    Margaret Trimer-Hartley is a lifelong Michigander and superintendent of a group of charter schools in the city of Detroit.


    Margaret Trimer-Hartley Reply:

    Thank you. I have lived here in Michigan all my life. Where did the California reference come from. And I did not speak to all schools having air conditioning. Mine happen to be air conditioned, and so it is not a problem for us. That is what I said.


    Dana Reply:

    Ms/Mrs Maria I would implore you to watch the video again. As a PROUD Aunt of a UPSM student I am happy at he goes to this school rather than any other. UPSM is preparing these students for the future. They go to school somewhat on the same schedule as college students so that when, not IF they get to college it is not something foreign to them. The teachers and counselors are challenging these students to do there best and be there best.

    I would like to ask what does Michigan tourism have to do with the education of these Detroit children. Yes your child going to school during the summer does put a halt to summer vitcations, but what these students gain in knowledge is a whole lot more than some summer fun. And they don’t go to school 365 days a year. They are out of school the WHOLE month of December, April, and August, so they do get breaks. Just in a more in a lump some rather a break here or there.


  2. Denise June 23, 2011

    In regard to the woman you interviewed on schools all year round. She needs to get her facts correct! First of all stating that Michigan schools barely make 180 school days. This is false. Our schools Do go beyond to 183 days. She infered that our teachers become burned out, Let Me Tell You, our teachers in Michigan will match up with any teachers around this country of ours! Children need stimulation and it is always up to the teachers to provide the best learning experience possible. Michigan students rank high on their MEAP scores and our graduate students qualify to enter our best universities in this state. As an educator for forty years,having just retired, I feel very strong when our educational system is criticized. Students need to be well rounded individules. Keeping your nose in a book year round can cause a burn out faster than giving them time out to excercise their brain in sports, activities, and time with family. I was very appalled at this woman’s attitude. She appeared very narrow minded in her thinking.


    Dana Reply:

    Ms/Mrs Denise yes Michigan students qualify to enter our best universities in this state. But as a product and graduate of the DPS system (Northern H.S.) I feel as though somewhere along the line I wasn’t prepared enough. I had some of the most dedicated, caring, and knowledgable educators and I took advantage of every opportunity that DPS gave me and presented to me. But UPSM is not only preparing these students to get into college but to be able to make a smoother transition into college and stay there.


  3. Zac June 24, 2011

    you people need to actual listen. For one, there was nothing about California, this is a MICHIGAN school in DETROIT that they are talking about. 2nd, year rounds schools don’t mean the kids are in school for 365 days. the kids still get plenty of time off, just instead of a 3 month break at once in the summer, it is spread out over the year. if you want to have a difference of opinion, fine, but at least read the article and listen to what is said.


    Dana Reply:

    Thank you Zac for actually seeing the story for what it was.


  4. Sah-mommy2three July 6, 2011

    We tried Michigan schools for two years after coming to Michigan for work for my husband. We immigrated here from Canada. We were so disappointed in what we saw here that we opted to homeschool our children. And supposedly I was sending my daughter to one of the “best” districts in the state.

    That said, we educate year round. We do take several weeks off here and there as we go on vacations or find ourselves involved in a lot of group activities. We probably have lessons between 220 and 250 days a year depending on the year and the child. My kids are far from burned out and are thoroughly enjoying their childhood. :) They are about 3 years ahead of their counterparts in the public education system. It is entirely possible to move to a year round system and for the kids to receive that benefit. They won’t be burned out because the curriculum is too challenging and they will still have time for sports and many other activities. My kids have down time around the house, they are regularly in many sports, drama clubs, woodshop, etc etc etc … It’s just about maximizing the time you do have.


  5. Beth July 13, 2011

    I’m glad I read through all the comments, I was beginning to think I had read a different article than the one above! All the California comments?

    I’m in education, and I can definitely see the positive side of having school year round with a month break every 3 months. Many school systems do this already, and it certainly doesn’t affect the kids into feeling like they have no social life. Far from it. Especially when you throw into the mix that 3 LONG months in summer is a lot of time for kids to find mischief to get into, and the problems parents face with finding/affording daycare.

    I work specifically with kids who have IEP’s. These kids already have a strike against them, as it takes longer and more creative ways for them to grasp the material. 3 months out takes at LEAST a month to re-cover material already learned. Having a month here and there would cut the amount of time it takes to go over material, therefore giving more time to learn new material. I’m not even talking about learning MORE material in a year than is already covered, I’m talking about be able to cover material that is currently expected each year.

    The way the school year is now, teachers are cramming material down a students throat at a fast pace to cover what the state deems is necessary for that grade level/subject. This creates undue pressure on that student to memorize material, instead of remembering it.


  6. Name February 6, 2012

    well really i think year round schools are not better for students because they give you shorter and i know that children do not like short summers because they would like to spend more time with their friends thanks


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