Yearlong versus Traditional Schools: Are Yearlong Schools the Answer to Closing the Achievement Gap?

Did you know that student can lose up to two months of academic gains over the summer?  Imagine spending the first two months of each new school year trying to catch up and relearn what you learned last year.  Sounds frustrating, right?  It’s no surprise that this setback attributes to the achievement gap.  Think about it – if your son spends the first two months of every school year relearning what he learned last year, in turn missing out on the new material his class is learning, how long before he is grade levels behind his peers?

So how to do we solve this problem?  The first answer that comes to mind is year round school.  I mean, if kids are in school year round, they would be constantly engaged in academics and the summer academic loss would disappear.  Easy, right?  Not so fast.  I’m sure any talk of year round school would send your student running for the hills.

Yearlong Learning without Yearlong Schooling

Personally, I’m opposed to year round school.  Some of my greatest childhood memories took place during the summertime and I wouldn’t want to take that away from this next generation.  Childhood summers are a fleeting few and I feel they are best spent outside of the classroom.  But this doesn’t mean they should be spent disengaged from learning.

Whether you’re for or against year round school, a school district’s calendar isn’t going to change overnight.  So what is a concerned parent to do?  Incorporating learning into your summer schedule is a great way to keep academics strong and prevent that dreaded summer learning loss.

Here are Some Ideas for Avoiding the Summer Learning Slide

1.  Schedule time for academics.  Surely your student can spend a few hours a week reading for pleasure or practicing math facts – turn it into a game!

  • Knowing what is expected of them up front will make students more apt to incorporating summer learning time into their summer schedules.

2.  Take advantage of summer camps in your area.  From week-long offerings to those that fill the entire month of July, explore options available in your area and enroll your student in summer activities.

3.  Consider a tutor to work with your student once per week. Tutors can be greater resources for helping your child catch up, maintain, or get ahead!

A well rounded summer includes fun, learning, and relaxation.  Let kids be kids this summer but make sure they aren’t paying for it come September.

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