Should the School Year be Year-Round?


This is the current schedule for Forsyth County Schools and the topic of discussion for this article. Photo by: Steven Gresham.

I am currently in my sophomore year of high school, and I think that after 13 years of torture, I am entitled to voice my opinion of the current school schedule. Ever since I was in kindergarten, I wondered why we did not start school in January and finish in December. To me, it sounded a lot better than having the awkward two month (three months depending on where you live) drag that is known as summer break. Then I started thinking about year-round school. Why can’t we have that?

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good break, it just always seemed so awkward and confusing. Summer was also almost always too hot to do anything fun for too long, and I would have appreciated more frequent but shorter breaks instead. Also, I would always become bored after the first three weeks. It seemed to drag on forever. I ran out of things to do pretty quickly, and this is coming from a kid whose mom was a teacher meaning that summer was still dull even though I had most of my family home with me. 

Another problem I found with summer break was retaining information. Many students forget a good portion of what they learned in the year prior, but I do not believe that enough people realize the actual shock that comes with the start of the new school year. After two months of just being home or going to work, it’s hard to get back on a school schedule. The waking up at six, staring at instructors for eight hours a day, listening to the bell that dictates where and when we walk, even sitting down at a desk and writing with a pencil has a newfound difficulty. 

As much as I despise going to school, I think I would lose my mind if it was out for any longer; I wouldn’t talk to over 80% of my friends without it. Even though I do think it is over the top, the stressful situations that it puts me in helps me prepare for later in life. Having this taken away for two whole months at once before jumping back in at full force is unnecessarily exhausting, to say the least.

As previously stated, I’ve thought about what it would be like if school was year-round. After some consideration, I do not think that it is completely terrible, in fact, I think it is a possible solution to the current summer dilemma. I am well aware that many of my fellow peers actually like the summer, and they are ready to argue; however, I think there are several possible plans of year-round school that can benefit everybody. 

Most people think of school starting in January when discussing year-round school plans (although I would like that, I could definitely see how people want to stick to the summer schedule), but on the contrary, we could still have a summer break. Currently, there are eight weeks of summer vacation in Forsyth County. If we just removed half of that, then we could have four more weeks added to our breaks. Meaning two weeks of spring break, three weeks off for winter, two weeks for fall, and more days off for smaller holidays like Halloween. We would still have an entire month off for summer. After all, would it not be nicer to have more breaks to look forward to?

However, there are more serious and respectable worries. How could the school afford to operate over the summer? Well, if the new days off are actually taken from the current length of summer, then we would still be in school for the same amount of time. Meaning that the budget leap won’t be huge, especially since most teachers get paid over the summer anyways. 

Another concern is the loss of traditional summer hobbies. However, if we still have four weeks of summer break, I believe that it is more than enough time for vacations, camps, bucket lists, and the typically fun things that come with the break. Also, many students are able to hold a job during the school year, and you still have a month over the summer to get used to a new job. So although I acknowledge that a large part of our culture has adapted to summer break, I believe that we will be able to find easy and simple solutions. In my opinion, the pros far outway the cons. 

Alexis Yers, a junior, feels like summer break is too long, and it makes her “forget all the material we learn.” Nathanael Hines, a sophomore, agrees and thinks that “it would be easier to go straight into [school], [rather] than having… a whole review unit.” Ben Barron, a junior, thinks that the current schedule should be redone entirely and be modeled after the Finland education system. Where kids have shorter days, little homework, and overall better test grades. “I think a shorter school day would give students a better opportunity to have things after school that they do, such as a job or extracurricular activities. And really, the school day should just be about preparing kids for things outside of school.”

While I do not expect the majority of public schools to start having either shorter summers or a year-round plan, I think we would be better off with it. Most kids, especially in middle and elementary school, lack structure over the summer. This causes all of the negative impacts. I realize these seem like minor inconveniences, but it does harm the productivity of students and teachers. Not to mention it unnecessarily stunts the educational growth and development of children. These should have been crucial concerns when planning the layout of the school year.