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Education Station: What does year-round schooling really mean?

As CMSD year-round students head back to school this week, 3News breaks down what makes a balanced calendar school year different from a traditional one.

CLEVELAND — On this week’s Education Station, we spotlight kids who went back to school in the summer, and on Monday went back to school again for the fall! 

Year-round students have a unique educational calendar, but what exactly does it mean to go to school all year long? Canton's AIM Academy Principal Annie Arvidson describes it as this:

"Rather than taking three months off, where kids who don’t have access to literacy lose two to three months of learning every summer, balanced calendar learning evens that out. That summer slide, which is so critical to our urban and our Title-1 schools, where they slip so much through the summer, it balances out that calendar. It’s still the same number of days as traditional school," he says.

Year-round or "balanced calendar" students go to school about 180 days a year, like traditional students; however, their calendar is spread out differently. Year-round students are nine weeks on, three weeks off until summer break, which is five weeks off.

"That little bit of respite in between those nine weeks is a great gift to both your staff and to your students. You have different times and opportunities throughout the year to take vacations that you don’t have in the regular calendar," says Arvidson.

But having kids in school year-round can mean increased cost to school districts and schedule conflicts for parents. Stacia Green has three kids at AIM Academy and two in traditional school.

"Where her little sisters are at home for "Bulldog Bonus" days and for the intersession, she’s still getting up every day going to school," says Greene.

Year-round school can also affect tourism and other industries that count on summer vacationers, and high schoolers may be less available to work summer jobs. But Arvidson says the pros far outweigh the cons. Arvidson's AIM Academy became a year-round school in 2017. According to the Department of Education, there are now over 3,000 year-round schools in the nation - 22 of them in Ohio, six of which are in Cleveland.

"I kinda wish that more schools offered it. Even though it says year-round school, which can be very misleading, they get the time off. And when they’re here they will enjoy it," says Greene.

More Education Station reporting:

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