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Ready or Not, Here Comes Year-Round Schooling

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Ready or Not, Here Comes Year-Round Schooling

Ready or Not, Here Comes Year-Round Schooling

Recently the Wake County School Board approved an initiative to implement year-round school schedule for nineteen elementary and middle schools. This change forces faculty, students, and parents to adjust to an unfamiliar routine. Like any major adjustment, some individuals support, while others dislike the new plan. Regardless, the board has already approved the change in policy, and everyone will have to simply "deal with it."

Under the new system students will still be required to attend 180 days in each academic year. The year will be divided into four quarters with forty-five days of instruction, followed by fifteen days of break. However, the students and teachers will each be placed on one of four tracks. All students and teachers on a track will have the same school days and vacation days, but the vacation days will be different for each track. At any given time, three tracks of students and their teachers are in school, while the fourth track is on vacation. Each student will have the same teacher for the entire year, but they will be forced to change classrooms after every break. On the up side, holidays will remain the same for all tracks, and will coincide with the holidays of the traditional calendar. Enrollment in these year-round schools is mandatory for individuals zoned into year-round schools, but students from other zones can apply to attend these schools during the magnet application period.

The main reason for a change to the year-round calendar is the increased efficiency and lowered cost when compared to traditional calendars. When the board approved the conversion of nineteen schools to the year-round schedule, 3,000 seats were gained as a part of the new building plan. It is speculated that a track system can accommodate twenty to thirty percent more students in each year, in each building. This, in turn, saves on construction costs by better utilizing available space. Also, operating costs are lowered. For example, six classes can share five sets of textbooks, equipment, and furniture. Students will also have have breaks after each quarter that will provide time for enrichment or remedial opportunities. Basically, the school board sees year-round schools as a great way to increase our schools' efficiency, while lowering education costs.

One main concern dealing with the implementation of year round schools, is teacher satisfaction with the new system. On a positive note, children of teachers in year-round schools will be guaranteed placement on the same track as their parent. Children of staff will have high priority for placement on the same track as the parent. Also, if a teacher is on a traditional calender and their child attends a converted school, the child will have priority for a traditional calendar seat and/or priority for the track assignment of his choice. However, there are many negative aspects when considering teacher job satisfaction. Teachers on a year-round calendar are not guaranteed a pay raise, even though they are required to work throughout the year. This eliminates time

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