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Year-Round Education Program Guide


Introduction

Year-round education (YRE) is not a typical alternative way to deliver the curriculum. It is, however, an alternative way to construct the school calendar. It may have positive effects on student achievement, especially for disadvantaged students.

Both traditional and some year-round school calendars can have 180 days of instruction. The traditional calendar, of course, is divided into nine months of instruction and three months of vacation during the summer. Year-round calendars break these long instructional/vacation blocks into shorter units. The most typical instructional/vacation year-round pattern is called the 60/20 calendar (60 days of instruction followed by 20 days of vacation and the second most popular is the 45/15. There are numerous other possible patterns, but they are not common.

Year-round education is also known by the number of "tracks" it uses. A school using a "single track" year-round calendar is simply changing the instructional/vacation sequence of the school year; all the students and staff are in school or vacation at the same time. But a school using a "multitrack" year-round calendar does something quite different; it divides the entire student body and staff into different tracks (from four to five). If, for example, a school is using a four-track system, then at any one time three of the four tracks are attending school while the fourth is on vacation. The rotation sequence depends on the year-round calendar being used. In the 60/20 calendar, one track returns from vacation and one track leaves every 20 days.

The advantage of a multitrack system is that it expands the seating capacity of a school facility. For example, if a school with a seating capacity of 1,000 uses a four-track system, it could potentially enroll 1,333 students, increasing its capacity by 33 percent. In practice, four-track plans typically expand the seating capacity by about 25 percent.

For many, however, the advantages of multitrack year-round education are compromised by the disadvantages. For instance, lengthening the school year beyond 180 days by using on-site classrooms is thwarted by the available-day limitations of each multitrack year-round education track. And offering mandatory remediation sessions, when all classrooms are used all year, is likewise a challenge. A district considering the implementation of multitrack year-round education must consider both its facility needs and its instructional objectives and then choose a course that provides each of its students with the maximum opportunity to learn.

The ability of year-round education to relieve overcrowding has overshadowed its effectiveness as an educational strategy. Yet there are, in fact, compelling reasons year-round education should be considered in its single-track form simply for its educational benefits, especially for at-risk students.

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Students with learning disadvantages may receive academic benefits. Student achievement scores improve when those students are attending year-round schools. 1 The explanation is simple: the loss of retention of information that occurs during the three-month summer vacation is minimized by the shorter, more frequent vacations that characterize year-round calendars. For those students without intellectual stimulation, enrichment, or reinforcement during the summer, summertime can be intellectually detrimental.

Also, summer school, the typical time for remediation in traditional calendar schools, is held just once a year. It is scheduled after the school year has been completed, which is often too late. Year-round calendars replace summer school with intersession (those periods of shorter vacations that punctuate the instructional year). Because intersessions take place more frequently, remediation can occur in sequence, offering to help a student in a timely manner.

Of course, there are other benefits associated with the year-round calendar: teacher and student stress are relieved by regular breaks throughout the year; vacation time can be used more creatively; and the curriculum can creatively incorporate seasonal learning.

Implementing a year-round education calendar has both facility and programmatic implications. In its multitrack and single-track forms, it can be an important strategy for ensuring that a district can deliver the best possible educational program.

 

Year-Round Calendars
Characteristics Traditional 45/15
Multitrack
60/20
Multitrack
90/30
Multitrack
Orchard
Number of tracks

1

4

4

4

5

Number of instructional periods

2 to 4

4

3

2

3

Length of periods

45 to 90 days

45 days

60 days

90 days

60 days

Number of instructional days

180

180

180

180

180

Length of vacations

3 days to 3 months

15 days

20 days

30 days

3 periods of 15 days each; 1 period of 20 days

Number of vacations

1 long

4

3

2

4

Maximum capacity gain (percent)

0

33

33

33

25

Features

Long instructional blocks, long vacation

Frequent vacations

Long instructional blocks

Long instructional blocks, long vacation

Teachers and students on vacation at the same time

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Advantages Single-Track Double Session 90/30 60/20 45/15 4 Quarters 60/15 5 Quarters
Increase school building capacity

0%

100%

33%

33%

33%

33%

25%

25%

Provides for 180 days of instruction

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Breaks up three month traditional summer into two or more periods, enhancing continuity and pacing of instruction No No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Provides multiple vacation options for students and staff No No

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Provides opportunities for salary enhancements through substitute and/or intersession employment No No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Provides for a common three to four week summer vacation for all students and staff

Yes

Yes

No No No No

Yes

Yes

Provides multiple intersessions to accommodate enrichment and/or remedial instruction No No

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

No
Offers maximum opportunity for course offerings in a departmentalized program

Yes

Yes

No No No

Yes

No No
If space and funding allow, students may attend all four quarters No No No No No

Yes

No No
Retains a calendar that accommodates two semesters or four quarters

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Requires fewer room changes, including start-ups and closing

Yes

Yes

Yes

No No No No No
Allows teachers and students to retain the same classrooms all year

Yes

Yes

No No No No No No
Permits the addition of school days beyond the required 180-day school year

Yes

Yes

No No No No

Yes

Yes

 

Disadvantages Single-Track Double Session 90/30 60/20 45/15 4 Quarters 60/15 5 Quarters
Requires class rotation or teacher rover No No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Requires three more "start-ups" and "endings" No No No

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

No
Requires additional storage space for teachers and students No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Requires a calendar that does not coincide with a traditional school year calendar

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Additional demands placed upon cafeteria, custodial, maintenance, and instructional support and administrative services No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Student testing schedules will defer from track to track No No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Graduations, parent conference days, annual music, athletic, and other events must be given specific accommodations No No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No common vacation break of longer than three weeks for all staff and students No No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Source: La Canada Unified School District Feasibility Study, 1998.

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Year-Round Costs
Areas of Savings
Areas of Costs
Example Cost Analysis
Position/Cost
Item
Enrollment of 500 Students Enrollment of 581 Students Enrollment of 635 Students
Position

Traditional

YRE

Traditional

YRE

Traditional

YRE

Personnel/Principal

$67,000

$73,030

$67,000

$73,030

$67,000

$73,030

Personnel/Clerical Staff

$42,075

$50,490

$42,075

$50,490

$42,075

$50,490

Personnel/Noon aides

$7,751

$10,334

$7,751

$10,334

$7,751

$10,334

Personnel/Custodial Staff

$55,854

$59,576

$55,854

$59,576

$55,854

$59,576

Personnel/Fringe

$51,804

$58,029

$51,804

$58,029

$51,804

$58,029

Operational/Additional Facilities

$0

$0

$28,178

$0

$46,960

$0

Operational/Utilities

$34,546

$44,816

$36,562

$44,816

$40,578

$44,816

Operational/Supplies

$11,850

$11,850

$13,650

$13,650

$15,450

$15,450

Total cost

$270,880

$308,125

$302,874

$309,925

$327,472

$311,725

Cost per pupil

$542

$616

$521

$533

$515

$490


Model is based on a school site with a capacity of 500 students.
Source: La Canada Unified School District Feasibility Study 1998.

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Implementing a Year-Round Educational Program
  1. Implementation Steps
    1. Select schools and grade levels.
    2. Establish a process for resolving issues.
    3. Construct a "Pert Chart" for organizing issues, time lines, and responsibilities.
    4. Meet consultation requirements (Education Code Section 37616) and November 1 public notice deadline (Education Code Section 37611) if needed.
    5. Select and approve a calendar by working with employee groups.
    6. Assess the need for facilities modifications, including shade modification and storage areas for off-track teachers.
    7. Submit budget requests to district business office.
    8. Decide if year-round education will be implemented on a voluntary or mandatory basis for students and employees.
    9. Develop and approve a track preference and assignment policy for students, keeping in mind the need for same schedules for family members. Balance tracks by ethnicity, academic ability, socioeconomic level, and educational need.
    10. Develop and approve a track assignment policy for teachers and staff.
    11. Determine staff in-service schedule.
    12. Institute a year-round education informational network for certificated and classified staff members and parents.
    13. Send choices of tracks to parents by early spring.
    14. Notify parents as soon as possible of track assignment.
    15. Develop a policy and system for track-change appeals.
    16. Develop a system for delivering services during the summer (e.g., classroom supplies and textbooks).
    17. Modify/expand food services according to need.
    18. Modify payroll periods.
    19. Develop a system for plant maintenance and utilization of empty rooms.
    20. Ensure that air conditioning and insulation are able to provide summer comfort.
    21. Bargain with all appropriate classified and certificated units.
    22. Develop a work schedule for office, custodial, and administrative staff members.
    23. Develop a system to deliver electives and special services, such as special day classes, psychological services, resource specialists, and bilingual education.
    24. Ensure appropriate cash reserves to meet summer payroll and supply expenses.
    25. Modify transportation system as required, including routes, number of buses, and service schedules.
    26. Establish a system for teacher room rotation or roving.
    27. Develop a community-school communication system for notifying off-track families of important school dates and activities.
    28. Provide activities for connecting off-track employees and parents.
    29. Reschedule special events such as holiday programs.
    30. Design attendance accounting system as required.
    31. Modify report card schedule.
    32. Coordinate with community services, such as the recreation department, youth organizations, church groups, and the police department.
    33. Identify and coordinate with child care providers.
    34. Identify intersession instructional programs and schedules.
    35. Modify student testing program.
  2. Track Assignment Considerations
    1. General Axioms
      1. Establish the following priorities in deciding who gets first track preference, of a track:
        1. Keep families together. Give priority to families with children in different schools in accord with Education Code Section 37617.
        2. Respect district employees and keep parents on the same track as their children.
        3. Respect the terms of divorce settlements by respecting parents visitation schedules.
        4. Consider unique family circumstances (e.g. predictable, annual visits of families located in different parts of the country or the world).
        5. Acknowledge unique educational opportunities (e.g., a cello prodigy who is offered a summer camp).
      2. Use a fair, balanced track assignment policy once priorities have been honored. Each track should mirror the ethnic and socioeconomic composition of the entire school population.
      3. Minimize ability and/or special education need track segregation. If a special population must be put on one track, isolation and segregation can be minimized by partial day integration of self-selection of track.
      4. Develop an appeals process, including:
        1. A site administrator.
        2. An appeal committee (made up of an administrator, a teacher, and a board member).
        3. Full board.
      5. Do not:
        1. Load tracks by ability level.
        2. Load tracks by special groups (e.g., band or football).
        3. Move students from track to track each year (unless requested).
        4. Wait too long to announce track assignments.
  3. Operational Strategies for Special Services
    1. Special Day Classes
      1. Typically confined to one track (or two if the population warrants).
      2. Extended school year days are typically offered during intersessions.
      3. Education Code Section 37617 allows exemption from placing students from same family on same track.
    2. Resource Specialists
      1. Typically offered on all tracks.
      2. Teaching services stretched to 12 months:
        1. Increasing the number of teaching days per year.
        2. Increasing the number of teaching weeks per year but keeping the number of teaching days the same. Vacation time is spread throughout the year and equally distributed across all tracks. Aides, roving Resource Specialist Program (RSP) teachers, and/or substitutes fill in during vacation time.
        3. Increasing the number of teaching weeks per year but keeping the number of teaching days the same by converting contracts to four-day work weeks, with fifth-day coverage done by aides, roving RSP teachers, and/or substitutes; or limit services to four days per week.
        4. Increasing the number of teaching weeks per year while decreasing the number of per-teacher instructional days by sharing contracts.
        5. Increasing the number of teaching weeks per year by assigning the contract teacher to a specific track (or a "traditional" schedule) and filling in the vacation periods with a long-term substitute or roving RSP teacher.

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Pros and Cons of Year-Round Education Programs
Pros
Cons
State Allocation Board's Year-Round Waiver Policy

A study of the feasibility to implement a multitrack year-round education program is no longer required by the School Facilities Program (SB 50).

Substantial Enrollment Requirement (SER) certification is granted when one of the following conditions are met:

Substantial Enrollment waivers may be granted according to the policy of the State Allocation Board, 4 when:

Reduction of Eligibility

If an applicant school district is unable to meet the "substantial enrollment" threshold but has students in multitrack year-round education, it qualifies for a reduced "substantial enrollment" augmentation to the school district's existing student capacity. This lesser increase in existing student capacity is available under the following conditions:

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Notes
  1. "Investigating the effects of single-track year-round education on achievement of at-risk students." Carolyn Calvin Kneese et al. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Research Association, San Francisco, California April 18-22, 1995. "The effects of summer vacation on achievement test scores: a narrative and meta-analytic review." Harris, Cooper, et al. Review of Educational Research, (Fall 1996), Vol. 66, No. 3, 227-68.
  2. The State Allocation Board provided a new cost savings per pupil figure of $1,283 and directed the Office of Public School Construction to present the report to the Legislature on November 18, 1998.
  3. Education Code sections 17017.6 and 17017.7(c).
  4. Amendment to the Substantial Enrollment Policy, May 27, 1992.
  5. This particular provision is not found in State Allocation Board policy but only in Education Code Section 17017.5(e).
Questions:   Fred Yeager | fyeager@cde.ca.gov | 916-327-7148
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